Realizing a significant need for major improvements at colleges and universities across the state, voters in New Mexico overwhelmingly passed Bond C for Higher Education with a whopping 61 percent or more than 410,000 voters approving $119.4 million in renovations of aging and subpar facilities.
Bond C for Higher Education will allocate $24.5 million to UNM for a variety of sorely needed renovations and repairs including $19 million at UNM's main campus including $16 million for the UNM's Chemistry and Chemical Biology Department and Clark/Reibsomer Hall, and $3 million for Castetter Hall, which houses UNM's Department of Biology. An additional $5.5 million will go to the branch campuses at Gallup, Los Alamos, Taos and Valencia.
Renovations have been needed for more than 20 years at Clark/Reibsomer Hall. Currently, many areas in the building, including labs, do not meet state and federal safety standards for HVAC, air quality, power and environmental concerns. Funding from the passage of Bond C for Higher Education will alleviate these major safety concerns and provide a greatly improved environment for New Mexico's future chemists.
"These renovations will transform the educational experience for our chemistry majors and graduate students by providing modern lab facilities," said Steve Cabaniss, chair and professor, UNM Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology. ""Modern research laboratories will also help us to recruit new faculty and improve the competitiveness of our research proposals on a national level. They allow us to provide our undergraduate and graduate students with the top-quality research experiences which will make them competitive in the job market."
The Department of Biology is the largest department in the College of Arts and Sciences serving more than 2,000 students, including 90 percent of whom are New Mexicans. Majors within the department have soared more than 275 percent over the past 10 years. Additionally, the biology department generates UNM's highest annual research funding of more than $15 million in grants per year.
"The Department of Biology is very grateful for the support that the voters of New Mexico have invested in us," said Richard Cripps, chair and professor, UNM Biology Department. "The construction provided by Bond C will enable us to complete our state-of-the-art new facilities in Castetter Hall. These facilities will be used by students and faculty to generate new knowledge about the living world and will help train the next generation of biologists."
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