More Wellness Center details provided at Keeping the Dream Alive

Photo by Marie Mccolm Approximately 150 people attended the Keeping the Dream Alive event put on by Rio Grande Hospital on Aug. 12 in Del Norte.

Rio Grande Hospital held its annual event on Aug. 12

DEL NORTE — Rio Grande Hospital hosted its 15th annual Keeping the Dream Alive event on Aug. 12 in Del Norte that benefited the hospital’s new Wellness Center.

Construction of the Wellness Center is underway next to the hospital. Hospital Chief Executive Officer Arlene Harms talked about the importance of the center that will serve more than just its patients and staff.

The Wellness Center is going to be a large community building that is centered around some things called blue zones, Harms said. Blue zones are five places in the world that people live, and they live healthfully. According to, blue zones are areas in the world where people live the longest, consistently reaching age 100.

“We have been studying these things for quite a few years. So, we are going to base this wellness center on how to live longer and how to be less sick and healthier,” Harms said.

The center will have a big community meeting room “so our community can use it for anything and everything they may need. We will have another smaller meeting room, one where there will be games in there, you can listen to music in there, computers, that will be open to anybody that wants to come in,” Harms added.

There will also be an exercise room where people can experience things like Yoga or learn where to go for Yoga, Harms said.

Approximately 150 people attended the event. Members of the Keeping the Dream Alive team were dressed in matching light blue T-shirts.

There were long tables set out for people to sit and eat dinner. The beef brisket and pulled pork dinner with or without green chili, potato salad, ranchero baked beans, and a tortilla was prepared by the Mountain View Restaurant. On every table, there were also plates of cookies and brownies made by the Rio Grande Hospital, that attendees could eat.

Mountain View owners Ronnie and Glenda Martinez were thanked and honored with a gift and flowers from Harms.

The center will have small houses for staff and other people needing to stay close to the hospital, Harms said.

“We will use these for people who must have some kind of treatment that they need daily such as hyperbaric, but they have a hard time driving every day, so they can just stay there. We will use them for people who are not quite ready to go into hospice or the hospital. We can use the houses for this for a short time,” she said.

Harms explained that the houses would also be built on wellness, so they would be solar. The windows would be architecturally built for maximum light, explaining that maximum light is extremely healthy. Harms explained that each home would also be equipped with a ramp in case it is needed. She also stated that all homes would be lit at night but not super bright, but enough to see.

Harms said there will be a greenhouse, where food could be grown, and walking paths.

The Wellness Center will have teaching rooms, and a commercial kitchen where people will teach about nutrition and diabetic dieting. The community room could be used for family reunions, “you just need to ask. This is all about the community and being well,” Harms said.

For staff there will be massage chairs, a place to just get away.

“We didn’t have all of that for COVID and I think this is really important, to have a place to just get away. A room for meditation. We have seen that people live longer when they can de-stress and think more clearly,” Harms said. “It’s just been our desire to do something for the community.”

Harms said the facility will be about 7,800 square feet. Harms stated that although they have done wellness things before, this will be a totally different concept.

“We want to move from treating sickness to teaching health. We want to keep people out of the hospitals. It’s the right thing to do to transition and help people stay learn to stay healthy,” she said.

Harms said to date they have raised about $2.6 million. Harms said it was probably going to take about $7 million to complete the building.

“We were right on track for the building, but COVID set us back a little bit. COVID was not good for us, not going out, not being able to socialize, those things were not good for our health. This will get us all back on track from that too,” Harms said.

Harms said that whatever donations were collected at the dinner the Rio Grande Hospital board was going to match those donations.

“All of this is coming together. The board is totally with it, our foundation is totally with it. We have a lot of people here tonight. It’s very exciting,” she said.

The Wellness Center’s projected date of completion will be in 2024. For more information or to donate, contact the Rio Grande Hospital at 719-657-3266.