UNM Hospital preparing to build a new tower

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The University of New Mexico Hospital was already planning to build a new tower before COVID-19 hit the state — but officials said it’s going to help them with some problems the pandemic caused.

New Mexicans have probably noticed the construction near UNM Hospital at the roundabout on Yale.

UNM Hospital CEO Kate Becker said they are building a new parking garage which will be three times as big as the current garage. Then the Physics and Astronomy building will be torn down, making way for the new hospital tower.

The $522 million project is intended to create a more welcoming front on Lomas, as well as adding 96 ICU beds, 18 operating rooms and a new adult emergency department.

Becker said that during the pandemic, patients have been coming in sicker and staying longer.

"And even though as COVID is going down in our community, and we’re having fewer COVID patients, what we’re finding, because people differed care over this whole year while they haven’t been able to go to the dentist or doctor, now that they’re coming back, they’re sicker than they were before," Becker said. "So we’re really seeing more ill people and that’s the level of care this space provides."

The project has been years in the making and is expected to be finished in late 2024.