February 3, 2005

Contact: Jennifer Riordan, Media Relations Manager UNM HSC—272-3682, cell: 220-0702

Punxsutawney Phil may have seen his shadow this morning signifying six more weeks of winter, but construction of the Barbara and Bill Richardson Pavilion will advance as planned.

Prairie Dog Pals, a local non-profit organization with a mission to provide information and education about prairie dogs, helped celebrate Groundhog Day and the beginning of excavation at the UNM Children's Hospital Expansion Project.  A prairie dog affectionately named "Pavilion Phil" saw his shadow just like Punxsutawney Phil and that signifies 6 weeks plus of massive digging on the project.

More than one and a quarter times the amount of dirt it would take to fill the Lobo Pit is being excavated in preparation for the construction phases of the site. In its place, a new 120 foot, six floor expansion of the hospital will cast its shadow over the UNM Hospital and Health Sciences Center.

Of the 59,259 cubic yards of dirt, 80 percent will be recycled back into the project and the remaining will be taken off the site to be used as backfill at a later time.

The next phases for construction are as follows:

  • Mass Excavation for basement               January March 2005
  • Pour Foundation                                    March/April 2005
  • Steel Erection                                        April/May 2005
  • Steel Topping Out                                  Fall 2005

When steel erection begins, the weight of the Structural Steel columns and beams is approximately equal to that of 2,000 automobiles stacked vertically.

The new facility will have more than 245 miles of electrical wire, enough to stretch from Albuquerque, NM to El Paso, TX.

The hole or excavation required for the building could hold over 12 million gallons of water, approximately equivalent of 700 swimming pools.

It would take one person mopping 2,000 square feet per hour, working 24 hours a day, for approximately one week to clean just the tile floors in the building.

To date the total project cost is just over $34 million including the pre-construction, design, architects and mobilization.

The 476,555 square foot expansion will provide six new floors of clinical space including a maternity center, newborn intensive care unit, adult critical care units, emergency and trauma services, private patient rooms, and two dedicated floors for UNM Children's Hospital.  

Pardon our "Star Dust" and thank you for your patience and understanding as "Our Star is Rising!" For More information visit http://hospitals.unm.edu click on Stella the star.