The University of New Mexico Board of Regents voted unanimously to name the new UNM Children's Hospital and Critical Care Pavilion in honor of Governor and Mrs. Richardson during a Special Regents Meeting on Nov. 16.

The Barbara and Bill Richardson Pavilion will house 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.

"In recognition of their extraordinary service to the people of New Mexico, the UNM Board of Regents is proud to dedicate this new facility to the Governor and First Lady," said UNM Regents President Jamie Koch.  "The Regents policy for naming university facilities provides for university facilities to be named for individuals or entities whose accomplishments or generosity advance the academic mission of the university, further the capacity of UNM to meet its teaching and scholarly objectives and to serve its community, and enhance the growth and reputation of UNM," Koch said.

The Governor and Mrs. Richardson have been instrumental in improving access to quality health care for all New Mexicans.  "Gov. Richardson was key in securing the financial viability of the hospital expansion project by facilitating the state's tobacco tax for the purpose of dedicating $40 million to this project," said Louis Caldera, president, UNM.

The Barbara and Bill Richardson Pavilion will double the number of emergency room beds, and will triple the ER's square footage.  The existing maternity center, built in 1954, will be replaced by a new one which will house 54 patient rooms for labor and delivery, high risk ante-partum and post-partum, and six OB triage suites.  The newborn nursery will hold 39 bassinets for UNM Hospital's youngest patients.

"First Lady Richardson has been a strong and dedicated advocate for children in our state," said R. Philip Eaton, MD, Executive Vice President for Health Sciences.  "Her commitment is demonstrated by her leadership in establishing an unprecedented partnership with the UNM Health Sciences Center and the state of New Mexico to house and facilitate the work of the New Mexico Immunization Coalition."

UNM Children's Hospital, which will be located on two dedicated floors of the new facility, will include a 20-bed pediatric intensive care unit, a 34-bed pediatric acute care unit, a 20-bed pediatric oncology unit, a 15-bed rehabilitation unit, four pediatric surgery suites, and a child life center. An extensive neonatal unit, with 52 beds, will also be housed in UNM Children's Hospital.

In addition, adult patients will also benefit from improved facilities as a result of the expansion project.  "The trauma ICU will increase from 17 beds to 24 beds; the neurosciences ICU will increase from 10 beds to 24 beds; and the medical/cardiac ICU will increase from 14 to 24 beds," explained Steve McKernan, Chief Executive Officer of UNM Hospitals. This will result in a total of 454 beds.

New Mexico's largest capital improvement project to date, the 476,555 square foot expansion will provide six floors of clinical space.  Construction on the $233.8 million project began on October 13, 2004, with completion expected in fall 2007.


Contact: Jennifer Riordan, 272-3322