The UNM Board of Regents approved $3 million in upgrades to sections of Riebsomer and Clark Halls. The upgrades include $500,000 for roof renewal, bathroom modification and renewal, interior improvements such as paint, flooring, ceiling tiles, doors and locksets. They also include exterior renewal including window and window sill replacement and maintenance.
In addition $2.5 million from the UNM 2007 Bond Funds will be used for a solar energy lab and associated office space, a drug discovery lab and associated office space, an organic chemistry teaching lab, and laboratory instrumentation and ventilation controls.
A major renovation of Reibsomer Hall, which included $10 million, was up for voter approval in a statewide general obligation bond issue that failed last fall. Voters in Bernalillo County voted for the bond's passage.
The regent's action will address some of the most immediate problems while the university continues to search for money to complete the needed renovation. Money for the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology renovation is considered a critical capital outlay issue and the university intends to request additional funds from the 2011 New Mexico legislature.
The renovation of the organic chemistry laboratory is particularly important for students. More than 800 students take organic chemistry each year, many as part of the curriculum that prepares them for careers in the health sciences. The department had more than 7,000 undergraduate and graduate students in class for fiscal year 2010. Chemistry is a basic component of the core curriculum. Students involved in medicine, pharmacy, nursing, dental hygiene, physical therapy, occupational therapy, radiological sciences, engineering and medical laboratory sciences all take courses in chemistry. There has been more than 10 percent growth in enrollment of undergraduate students in chemistry courses over the past two years.
"The Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology is very grateful to the President of the Academic Senate, members of the UNM administration and a number of faculty from the Colleges of Engineering, Medicine and Arts and Sciences who lent their support for this special appropriations," said Professor and Interim Chair of the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology David Bear. "We are also extremely grateful to the Board of Regents for acting swiftly and decisively to help us provide a high quality and same chemical education for UNM undergraduate and graduate students."
The laboratory and office renovations will also be used to attract new faculty members.
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