Rio Grande Hospital Wellness Center is moving toward an opening in June

Courtesy photo The Rio Grande Wellness Center is under construction at the Rio Grande Hospital complex in Del Norte.

DEL NORTE— The Rio Grande Hospital Wellness Center campus is an innovative project, sitting on five acres south of the hospital and clinic, and includes the 7,500-square-foot communal center.

A recent tour of the building, with all its interior walls’ sheetrock in place, made clear the Center's spatial layout. When completed early this summer, visitors will be able to experience the benefits of all its unique features. 

Specifically designed around four concepts of wellness, the facility's informational hallways guide the visitor from one concept to the next.

Lisa Carpenter, architect with Keys and Lauer Architecture says, "coming in through the Vestibule you enter the educational hallway and will immediately see the Welcome Wall.  Signage will let you know this is your first stop. This area will give you general knowledge about Blue Zone living.”

"From here you can meander to each Blue Zone node to learn more about the four main concepts — Connect, Nutrition, Mindfulness, and Move."

The Connect Wall education node will have displays and information promoting wellness, community activities, health events, the Center's activities, organizational events, and other social opportunities that promote health. 

To the right, is the 700-square-foot Community Lounge where people can meet with friends, family, or colleagues to converse or maybe play a board game together. The lounge has an exterior door opening onto the Front Porch, which provides additional space for people to comfortably get together while relaxing and enjoying the outdoors.

Through a connecting doorway is the Community Hall.  At 2,200 square feet, it is a space for larger gatherings and events. It is spacious enough to accommodate the entire hospital staff for meetings or to hold regional conferences. Large windows reveal the entire Upper Rio Grande Valley to the west, including two sets of glass doors that open to the covered Veranda so people can gather outside.

The hall has a countertop that opens directly to the 400-square-foot, centrally located Teaching Kitchen - a place for healthy cooking demonstrations, classes, and community meals focusing on nutrition.

Next is the Nutrition Wall education node beside the Garden Meeting Room with its fragrant foliage-laden living herb wall. The Nutrition Wall will also feature information about the campus's Geodesic Dome greenhouse. Both areas will teach how to grow a variety of sustaining herbs and foods.

Proceeding down the hall, the Mindfulness Wall education node shares information about the labyrinth-patterned floor in the Community Hall, and provides access to the two private, Quiet Rooms.

Labyrinth floors have been used therapeutically in hospitals and hospices and proven to be able to quiet the mind or boost recovery.

The Quiet Rooms, each with a massage chair and nooks for meditation enable such things as deep relaxation, reflection, and healthy outlooks.

Rounding out the tour, the Move Wall education node focuses on the body and is located just outside the Exercise Studio, which will be equipped with a variety of exercise equipment.  The studio also has a set of doors that open to the covered Veranda for outdoor workouts and group classes.

The move zone exterior doors provide direct access to the outdoor walking paths connecting all elements of the campus - the Wellness Center, the cottages, the geodesic dome, the hospital, and the health clinic as well as the town's 8-mile Lookout Mountain walking and biking trail system.

A grand opening celebration is scheduled for some time in June.