The new UNM Hospital garage exterior
By Makenzie McNeill

Room to Move

UNM Hospital Debuts Larger, More Spacious Parking Garage

The critical care tower is the focal point of the hospital expansion unfolding at The University of New Mexico Hospital (UNMH). Soaring to nine levels at 684,000 square feet, this contemporary medical facility will ensure that more New Mexicans with life-threatening conditions can receive care in New Mexico. 

A key aspect of the expansion is improving access to services for patients.

On Monday, June 27, UNMH plans to debut its massive new parking garage after nearly a year of construction.

“One of the greatest challenges is the lack of parking spaces that we have available for patients and visitors here,” said Florencio Gallegos, senior executive director of operations at UNMH.

Patients have used West Parking Garage, next to the main hospital, since 1995. With only 500 spaces and narrow aisles – which present a challenge for larger vehicles – this structure has outgrown its utility.

The new structure measures more than 558,000 square feet with 1,400 parking spaces, including 16 spaces for electric vehicles and 105 ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) spaces. Its wider aisles will better accommodate bigger vehicles, as well.

The new garage also will utilize Park Assist, a system that uses color-coded lights to direct drivers to the nearest available space. This will expedite the time it takes for a patient to find a space and keep traffic moving.

Wayfinding – the ability to navigate around the UNMH campus effectively – has been another challenge for patients and visitors. This includes a shortage of parking spaces, poor visibility from the road, and long distances to services.

“We have such a large institution with many services for our community,” said Enrico Volpato, executive director of facilities at UNMH. “So, easier wayfinding for our patients becomes very important to their visit.”

That’s why, when UNMH began planning its ambitious hospital expansion, a new parking garage was a must-have.

Map showing access to the new garage
Traffic pattern change to new garage (PDF copy availabe to download in sidebar)
Outside of the new garage
Outside of the new garage
Top floor of the new garage
Top floor of the new garage
Electric vehicle charging stations
Electric vehicle charging stations inside the new garage

Additionally, UNMH will continue to operate its cart service, which will pick up patients on the first floor of the new garage and transport them to their destination in the main hospital.

“Our patients will be able to find a parking space and reach their appointments more quickly than in the past. I think that this is going to alleviate a lot of stress for them,” Gallegos said.

While still two years away from completion, the critical care tower will also benefit from some of the amenities housed in the new parking garage.

The Central Utility Plant, located at the east end of the structure, will supply power to the tower. There will also be dedicated space in the garage for services that will support operations in the tower - notably materials management, facilities and plant operations.

A walkable bridge will connect the garage to the tower’s second level, ensuring that both vendors and patients can access the tower more easily and efficiently.

This new parking garage – with more space and modern features – is a vital part of how UNMH plans to care for New Mexicans for years to come.

“We are building for the future,” Volpato said. “As we anticipate the growth that our new tower will bring, we’ve made a commitment as an organization to ensure that we have the capacity to support our patient population here in New Mexico.”

UNMH plans to celebrate the opening of the parking garage at 10 a.m. on August 10 in an event planned for the structure’s top level. Attendees will include leadership from UNMH, The University of New Mexico and UNM Health Sciences, representatives from local and state government and contractors involved in the critical care tower’s construction.

The event will be livestreamed on the UNM Hospital Facebook page.

 To learn more, visit

Categories: Community Engagement, Health, News You Can Use, Top Stories, UNM Hospital