NM Rehabilitation Center opens its doors

January 14, 2011 • Local News

The newly-constructed New Mexico Rehabilitation Center, 72 Gail Harris Avenue, opened its doors with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday. The event was attended by state Sen. Tim Jennings and New Mexico’s new governor, Susana Martinez. James D’Agostino, the rehabilitation center administrator, opened the ceremony with a welcome address. “I want to … thank the state of New Mexico for the hospital it has given us.” He also showed his appreciation to center staff, whom he called the “stars of the project.”

Mayor Del Jurney remarked it was “a good day for Roswell.” The mayor spoke of the need for having a rehabilitation unit in the city. “Twenty-five years ago my mother developed Guillain- Barré Syndrome. I didn’t even [auth] know we had a rehab center, but thanks to the rehab center, she was given quality of life.” Dr. Steven Gambel, ENMU president, expressed pride in having the center on the campus.

He acknowledged Jane Batson for her work on the project and praised Sen. Jennings. “Without his strong committed, tireless work, we would not have this facility.” S en. Tim Jennings referred to the process as a shared effort. He welcomed the governor and husband Chuck Franco, whom he called the First Dude. He shared banter with Keith Gardner, saying that Franco had pointed out: “She gets the biggest dude she can.

We may both have to hide behind him.” On a more serious note, Jennings said “You never know the curves life will send you. The staff and the people in the old center were incredible …. We’re dedicated to making this the best rehab center in the state.” About Susana Martinez, he said, “Governors come and governors go, but seldom has any governor taken on the challenges that she has.” Bill Taylor of the General Services Administration or GSD praised the building as one that “allowed us to bring the best value to New Mexico.”

The new rehabilitation center is designed to be “green” and energy efficient. The center was also built in a circular plan, which decreases the number of steps patients will have to walk. Dr. Catherine Torres, Secretary of Health, said she was impressed with the facility and impressed because it had a therapeutic pool necessary for spinal injuries. “Safety-net services are important to me and it is an honor to start my job with this rehabilitation hospital,” Torres said.

Gov. Susana Martinez continued the banter between herself and Jennings when she said she faced a dinner with the senator on Sunday, which Jennings had called “her husband’s coming out party.” She applauded the legislature for putting everything together to make this project possible, regardless of party affiliations. “If there is anything the governor’s office can do, I am committed. I want to be part of every community in the state.”

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