DEL NORTE— The Rio Grande Hospital and clinic began construction for a remodel and addition in late fall and with the above average temperatures plaguing the area, the construction is on track and well ahead of schedule.
“The warm weather has been wonderful for our construction, but not so much for the area. It’s a double-edged sword,” said maintenance supervisor and project manager Roger Banderas.
Through efforts put forth by the Rio Grande Hospital Board and other area organizations, they were able to receive a low interest loan through the USDA to make the remodel and addition to the hospital possible. Last fall, the board held a special ground-breaking ceremony where they explained that the hospital would soon be able to offer new and innovative medical treatment while enhancing privacy and safety of patients.
Construction has begun on the emergency room which will offer additional security and privacy to patients. Prior to construction, the emergency room was open with rooms that only had curtains for privacy. The new remodel will allow patients to enter a different door that connects to a waiting room and the administration intake desk, securing the inner part of the emergency room until patients are buzzed through security doors. The EMS and flight for life staff will have their own entrance that directly connects them with the emergency room, allowing for safe and efficient intakes.
The emergency room remodel is scheduled to be finished by the end of February and will house three additional patient rooms that are equipped with doors, rather than the curtains for patient privacy. The new design ensures the safety of staff and patients with the new locking mechanisms and intake procedures that will be in place by the time they open the new addition. “We will be moving the crane over to the emergency room location in the next few weeks so that we can begin steel work on the structure,” explained Banderas.
The building that is being added in between the hospital and clinic is almost to the wall stage, and crews will be working to enclose the steel structure by the end of February. The building addition will house a new physical therapy room, wound trauma care and connect the hospital with the clinic. “The staff and patients will be able to walk directly from the clinic to the hospital without having to go outside. Everyone will be kept out of the weather and it will offer a safe passage, where as before people had to walk from one building to the next out in the open,” said Banderas.
The north side of the hospital is also under construction as the addition to the new administrative offices is underway. “There will be a new conference area for large groups and more space for administrative offices. I know that the conference room will be available for public use, if the need arises,” said Banderas.
The construction around the hospital has kept people at bay, thinking that some or all of their facilities are not open, to which Banderas openly replied, “We need people to know that even though it may look like we are closed, we are not. We still function 24 hours a day, all year long. The entrance to the emergency room has been moved to the west of the original entrance and people can still access it whenever they need to,” said Banderas.
Construction will be underway for most of the coming year and as long as the weather holds will remain on track and finish right on time.