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 Mexicoâ€™s new governor, Susana Martinez. James Dâ€™Agostino, the rehabilitation center administrator, opened the ceremony with a welcome address. â€œI want to â€¦ thank the state of New Mexico for the hospital it has given us.â€ He also showed his appreciation to center staff, whom he called the â€œstars of the project.â€
Mayor Del Jurney remarked it was â€œa good day for Roswell.â€ The mayor spoke of the need for having a rehabilitation unit in the city. â€œTwenty-five years ago my mother developed Guillain- BarrÃ© Syndrome. I didnâ€™t even [auth] know we had a rehab center, but thanks to the rehab center, she was given quality of life.â€ 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. â€œWithout his strong committed, tireless work, we would not have this facility.â€ 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: â€œShe gets the biggest dude she can.
We may both have to hide behind him.â€ On a more serious note, Jennings said â€œYou never know the curves life will send you. The staff and the people in the old center were incredible …. Weâ€™re dedicated to making this the best rehab center in the state.â€ About Susana Martinez, he said, â€œGovernors come and governors go, but seldom has any governor taken on the challenges that she has.â€ Bill Taylor of the General Services Administration or GSD praised the building as one that â€œallowed us to bring the best value to New Mexico.â€
The new rehabilitation center is designed to be â€œgreenâ€ 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. â€œSafety-net services are important to me and it is an honor to start my job with this rehabilitation hospital,â€ 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 â€œher husbandâ€™s coming out party.â€ She applauded the legislature for putting everything together to make this project possible, regardless of party affiliations. â€œIf there is anything the governorâ€™s office can do, I am committed. I want to be part of every community in the state.â€