It seems that everyone knows someone who has been touched by cancer. SLV Health broke ground on Tuesday, June 6, 2017 at 106 Blanca Avenue to build an addition on to the front of the Regional Medical Center to expand and improve the medical treatment for patients in need of infusion services. Konnie Martin, SLV Health CEO, commented, “It is clear we need this 5,000 foot expansion to expand our cancer services here in the community. These kinds of programs are difficult to build because they are expensive and take so much time.” Construction is slated to officially begin at the end of the week and could last through the end of 2017. Representatives from GH Phipps and RTA Architects were also on hand to help “break ground” with gold-painted shovels.
San Luis Valley Health Foundation Director Kelly Gurule and her volunteer board members have been engaging with partners in the community for over three years to raise funds for the new center. Gurule addressed the crowd of over 100 people who gathered to witness the ceremony, “As I look over this group, I know each one of you agree on how important this expansion will be for our patients, family, visitors and friends. Thank you for sharing the journey.”
Christine Hettinger-Hunt, Director of Risk and Grant Management, thanked the foundation for helping raise over $350,000 toward the project. She mentioned some of the events that community members participate in to help the cause, such as the Bolos and Boots dinner and auction, as well as the annual Stephanie L Miner 5K Walk and Run. She also thanked the City of Alamosa for their cooperation in applying for a Department of Local Affairs grant. Jan Gay, Vice President of the Board of Trustees, thanked all of the donors as well, saying this was a long time coming and it’s exciting to finally be breaking ground.
Martin explained how the increase in patients with cancer has resulted in SLV Health hiring their first full time Oncologist, Dr. Maureen “Penny” Cooper, and how her office is located in the Stuart Avenue clinic. This expansion will bring everyone onto the same campus, so patients will only have to come to one location. Besides chemotherapy, the facility will be able to offer medication delivered by an IV infusion for iron therapy, hepatitis therapy or osteoporosis therapy. Martin acknowledged the nurses who also work with infusion patients as caring staff who “become like a family member for patients as they go through their care.”
Martin read a blessing for the building, which will be built out into the parking lot in front of the emergency room. She said, “As I reflected on the message that I wanted to share with you today, I was drawn to this blessing:”
As we gather today, we stand at a sacred intersection where science and technology meet grace and humanity, for the special purpose of healing body, mind and spirit.
May the Architect of our Lives:
Bless those whose vision has brought us to this moment. Those who gave this idea shape; who labored tirelessly to raise resources; who honed plans and laid a firm foundation.
Bless this ground that gives of itself to support this structure — the earth teeming with life — and the soil that calls forth our own mortality. May this building live lightly on this earth, using resources sparingly and respectfully.
Bless those who will construct this building. May they have safe working conditions and may no harm come to them. May the jobs created by this project sustain families who call this community their home.
Bless those that are the caring and healing hands of the services we provide. Give them strength and patience in their temporary homes.
Bless this structure that it might be strong enough to hold a struggling patient and their family and porous enough to allow our own humanity to seep through the care we give. May it be alive with our good deeds and may it flow with compassion for all who seek healing within its walls.
May God grace this project and bless all those involved.