Lovelace adds natural-birth center to Women’s Hospital
When midwives who deliver babies at Lovelace Women’s Hospital went to hospital officials to suggest that the facility incorporate water birthing tubs and suites into its services, hospital officials did something that might be considered unusual at a big corporation. They listened.
As a result, the Lovelace facility is in the middle of a $5.1 million construction project that’s adding a 16,000-square-foot natural-birthing center to the 98-bed hospital that delivers 3,600 infants a year.
The center will include four private labor/delivery/recovery/post-partum rooms with birthing tubs, and 18 other private patient recovery rooms for women and their families.
The natural birthing center is being built on the hospital’s first floor and should be completed in November, said Women’s Hospital CEO Sheri Milone.
“We actually started looking at this three years ago. The midwives and some of the patients came to us with the idea,” Milone said. “Some of the midwives had done water deliveries in other areas and we looked into it and got them involved in helping us put this together.
“It’s not something we did quickly. We’ve been looking at it and redesigning it over a period of time. We think the whole center will be a wonderful addition to the continuum of care that we can offer patients.”
In water births, mothers-to-be are immersed in a tub of warm water [95 to 100 degrees] during labor. Babies can be born in or out of the tubs. Proponents say the method decreases the pain of labor and allows women to have drug-free deliveries.
“It helps decrease the pain, it involves no drugs, and for many women. It is a more comfortable environment,” Milone added.
The Women’s Hospital has 16 labor and delivery rooms. The new center will increase its capacity for deliveries, which was one of the hospital’s goals, Milone said.
“We do 3,600 deliveries a year at this hospital, and our plan is to grow,” Milone said.
Lovelace is owned by the Nashville, Tenn.-based Ardent Health Services, which operates seven acute care hospitals in New Mexico and Oklahoma, has 1,409 licensed beds and 7,600 employees.
Lovelace Health System has been expanding its birthing capabilities this year.
In May, the system’s Westside Hospital started a $4.5 million renovation to turn 9,300 square feet of the 98-bed hospital into an obstetrics unit, with nine private/delivery/recovery and post-partum rooms. Westside Hospital CEO Troy Greer said the birthing unit will be the first on Albuquerque’s Westside since the mid-1990s.
That unit is expected to open in January and eventually will have 18 new staffers, Greer said.
The new rooms at the Women’s Hospital are designed to create a home-like atmosphere for patients and their families. Each will have wood-style flooring, flat-screen TVs, Wi-Fi and in-room sleeping accommodations for guests.
“The goal of the Natural Birthing Center is to provide a comforting atmosphere for new mothers and their families,” Milone explained.
The expansion will mean more employees, but Milone couldn’t say how many.
Vicki Stetson, a 19-year certified nurse midwife with ABQ Health Partners, said Albuquerque area women have been asking for water delivery services for a long time. Midwives at the hospital have been using deep bathtubs on some occasions for water birth, but the new birthing tubs will be more comfortable and roomier, she said.
“We’re just delighted that this is being done,” Stetson added. “This is something that is not currently offered in this community. It’s something that women in this community have been wanting for a long time. It offers them a comfortable, home-like setting, but in a hospital, which is the best of both worlds for them.”
FBT Architects awarded for school design
Albuquerque NM, FBT Architects has won Southwest Contractor magazine's New Mexico Best of 2007 K-12 Education Project for the Ventana Ranch Elementary School.
FBT Architects designed the 70,790-square-foot school, at 6801 Ventana Village Road NW, for Albuquerque Public Schools. The $10.6 million project was started in September 2006. Phase I opened December 2006. The second and final phase opened August 2007.
This was Southwest Contractor's 10th year of hosting the awards. Its judges reviewed 708 entries representing 400 projects in New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada.
School board chooses site for new middle school
The Clovis Municipal Schools Board of Education chose the location of the district’s new 900-student middle school.
The chosen site is a 40-acre plot of land along the Pleasant Hill Highway owned by Clovis developer Sid Strebeck.
The board decided last year the district needed a third middle school to handle growth from Cannon Air Force Base and the area. The New Mexico Public Schools Facilities Authority has agreed to pay 80 percent of the cost to build the new school, with the district paying the remaining 20 percent.
Other options discussed at Tuesday’s board meeting were a 30-acre site on the corner of Martin Luther King Boulevard and Llano Estacado and a 30-acre site on the corner of North Prince and Wilhite Streets.
Secretary Max Best, Vice President Terry Martin and member Rodney Muffley voted to choose the 40-acre site, President Mark Lansford voted no and member Lola Bryant was absent from the meeting.
The board chose a site according to an assessment done by FBT Architects on each site. Superintendent Rhonda Seidenwurm said the board wanted an outside opinion on each site to help make an objective choice.
The site chosen was ranked the highest overall by FBT. The assessment contained 14 criteria including aligning with the district’s master plan, ease of development and ease of access.
Lansford said he had concerns about the site. He said the site is 2 miles out of town and the distance will be a burden on parents, students and taxpayers.
Lansford also said $1.3 million in development costs will lie 100 percent with the district. The money would be spent on extending a water line and sewer line.
“That could have been utilized in another fashion rather than development,” he said.
Lansford also said the district owns 40 acres on 21st Street, just west of Humphrey Road, that already has access to utilities and easy access.
“We could have used that,” he said.
Seidenwurm said the land will be valuable when the district wants to build a new high school.
The board also approved adding a second gym to the new middle school site and to the contract with FBT Architects.
The design of the second gym will cost $40,666, 100 percent of which has to be paid by the district as PSFA will only offer a match for one gym. Deputy Superintendent of Operations Joel Shirley said a school intended for 900 students will require a second gym.