The University of New Mexico Board of Regents has made a new $20 million healthcare education building at UNM West one of its capital project priorities for submission to the Higher Education Department.  The annual HED submission is the first step in seeking state funding for the project.

The approval of the HSC West Healthcare Education Building to be built at the UNM West campus came after months of discussions on UNM’s main campus, Health Sciences Center, UNM West and the Sandoval Regional Medical Center.

The discussions centered around the best ways to address the education and health care needs and opportunities of Rio Rancho and Sandoval County.

“There’s a good reason for this elaborate process – namely, that buildings require a very long term commitment from all parties involved,” said Wynn Goering, CEO at UNM West. “We’re convinced that now is the time to make this commitment to UNM West and the future of our community.”

The proposal from the Health Sciences Center outlined a plan at UNM West that would enable further enrollment growth across campus. In addition, the second building would provide teaching laboratories for biology and chemistry curricula required for a wide range of UNM majors.

The new building at UNM West would also provide classroom and office space for selected health science undergraduate programs that could potentially include nursing, pharmacy, medical laboratory sciences, emergency medicine and population health.

In order for the $20 million building proposal to become a reality, the Rio Rancho governing body will need to commit local funding and the Higher Education Department will have to include it on their statewide list of capital project priorities.

Additionally, the legislature will have to take action on it in their 2016 legislative session, and the governor’s signature will be required.

The final approval, if the project becomes part of a statewide general obligation bond proposal, would be made by New Mexico voters in the November 2016 election.