Serving the High Plains

County OKs website about hospital project

The Quay County Commission on Monday approved a so-called Hospital Story Map website that aims to inform the public and stop “misinformation” about the county’s bid to build a new hospital in Tucumcari.

Dana Leonard, the county’s mapping technician, and county manager Daniel Zamora developed a draft of the story map.

Zamora said the website would contain a summary of a feasibility study for a new hospital to replace the nearly 60-year-old Trigg Memorial Hospital, the justifications for a new facility and frequently answered questions about it. He said he hopes the site “counters misinformation” about the project.

Zamora said the website would be live this week and linked from the county’s home page at

The draft states Trigg Memorial Hospital, built in 1965, “is now serving a population of more than 10,000 residents and handling over 30,000 total patient encounters every year. A new facility is sorely needed to serve the current needs of our community — including travelers and tourists.”

It states the feasibility study showed Trigg to be in “average” condition, “but its use and age suggests the presence of multiple hazardous materials (asbestos, lead paint, lead piping, etc.). The infrastructure systems — mechanical, plumbing, and electrical — are failing and deemed to be at the end of their useful lifespans.”

Among the FAQs are “Will my taxes increase” (the answer: no), “What will happen to the existing building?” (it likely will be reused as an administrative center) and “If the county is unable to build a new hospital, is there a backup plan?” (no alternative options have been formulated).

Commissioner Robert Lopez said the story map, of which a draft was included in the commission’s packet, was informative. Commissioner Jerri Rush said the FAQ section matched many of the questions she would have on the project.

Rush also added the public’s medical needs have changed since Trigg Memorial Hospital first opened in the mid-1960s. She said mammography and physical therapy didn’t exist at that time.

The county earlier this summer approved a nearly $1 million design service fee with an Arizona firm to design the new hospital. The estimated construction cost is more than $20 million. County officials hope state and federal funding will cover that.

An unveiling of the design is anticipated at the county’s next meeting in December.

In other business:

• C. Renee Hayoz, administrator for the Quay County Family Health Center, said during her monthly report the clinic has administered 168 doses of the new coronavirus booster vaccine, with 75 more scheduled for this week.

Hayoz said the clinic also has administered 120 flu shots and 70 high-dose flu shots to patients.

Zamora informed the commission the county may replace the clinic’s roof and add gutters after he receives a cost estimate. He said the current roof has been repeatedly patched and may be near the end of its life.

• Commissioners approved a resolution supporting New Mexico Counties’ legislative priorities for the 2023 session.

County Assessor Janie Hoffman said among the priorities are more reimbursements for detentions centers, prisoner transport and inmate emergency medical services; a return-to-work measure to help fill employee vacancies; a fund for courthouse renovations; and clarification on on open-records requests regarding election data.

• Road superintendent Larry Moore said two wings for a new low-water bridge on Old Route 66 near Endee were complete, and he anticipated the deck would be poured soon. The new bridge will replace a 1930s bridge there. The current bridge will be left standing for the benefit of Route 66 tourists.

More also said safety improvements on U.S. 54 at the intersection of Quay Road AI, aka Airport Road, were complete. The New Mexico Department of Transportation added lanes because of higher traffic to and from Airport Road, which serves as a shortcut to Interstate 40.

• Commissioners approved the certification of the general election results. (See election story in this edition.)

• Commissioners approved an amended agreement with Tucumcari Rawhide Days for the use of the county fairgrounds during the event. Zamora said the pact reflects higher requirements for liability insurance and its deposit.

• Commissioners approved two state grants for the sheriff’s department totaling about $3,500 to cover overtime costs of additional enforcement of seatbelt use and combating drunken driving.

• Commissioners approved an inmate housing agreement with Lincoln County if the Quay County Detention Center is full. The cost will be $85 a day.

• Commissioners approved a resolution that outlines a budget increase of $550,000 for improvements to Quay Road AP.

• Commissioners voted to cancel their next meeting, scheduled for Nov. 28. Zamora said the commission likely wouldn’t have a quorum that day, and he said county business during that time would be meager.