Artist's rendering of new North Valley clinic
The North Valley Center for Family and Community Health, is located on North Fourth Street in Albuquerque.

UNM Hospitals has broken ground on a new outpatient clinic that will help meet growing demand for medical services in Albuquerque’s North Valley.

The North Valley Center for Family and Community Health, 3401 Fourth Street NW, is expected to open next spring and will house a wide range of health care services, including primary care, pediatric care and women’s health services.

Gov. Susana Martinez and Bernalillo County Commission Chairwoman Debbie O’Malley joined hospital administrators, health care providers and community partners at a groundbreaking ceremony Sept. 2.

“Expanding our healthcare workforce to meet the demands of our residents has been a top priority of my administration,” Martinez said. “We’re proud that this easily accessible location will be home to this family clinic, and I’m grateful that UNM continues to join us in our commitment to increase access to quality care for New Mexicans.”

The clinic will be one of the UNM Health System’s biggest, featuring 22 exam rooms, a radiology suite, pharmacy and laboratory. The center will also provide health education classes, behavioral health counseling and aid for patients who need home care, hospice, transportation and financial aid counseling.

UNM Hospitals planned for the new facility with the help of the community, which provided input during a series of public meetings, said UNM Health System CEO Steve McKernan.

“This is a multi-generational community,” he said. “There are at lot of children living in the area, a lot of seniors raising their grandchildren. We wanted the clinic’s design to recognize their needs.”

The community weighed in on a wide-range of issues related to the clinic, from health care services to landscaping and the design of the facility, which will include space for community meetings.

“We know that medical needs in this area are high,” added Kori Beech, interim administrator for ambulatory services at UNM Hospitals. “We want it to be a positive presence in the neighborhood and a positive experience for patients, and we are glad we have the community’s support for this.”

The center will be constructed on the former site of Larry’s Drive-In, a popular eatery that operated from 1962-2003. Pictures and décor in the new building will pay homage to that history.

Up to 20 providers will practice at the clinic, and UNM estimates that it will serve 1,500-1,800 patients per month as all offerings come on line. By consolidating services, the center can better coordinate patient care, Beech said.

“We wanted to make it convenient for our patients,” she said. “For example, physicians will be able to send prescriptions to the on-site pharmacy electronically.”

Building construction will cost an estimated $4.9 million. Project architects are FBT Architects and the general contractor is Richardson and Richardson Construction. Both are Albuquerque-based firms with a long history in the community.