The General Obligation Bond for higher education comes before the voters of New Mexico in November. Bonds are a proven and accepted method of funding brick and mortar projects throughout the state. The GO Bond higher education is Bond C which allocates money to improve and renovate aging infrastructures for higher education institutions in New Mexico including UNM and the affiliated branches.
The GO Bond for UNM-Gallup is for $1 million to complete the basement of the Zollinger Library. The renovation will allow for archival storage as well as add usable study spaces for students. The library was constructed in 2000, but the lower level remained unfinished. As UNM-Gallup moves forward in taking advantage of opportunities to acquire art and historical collections, the space will be used to store and curate local artifacts.
"Renovations to the library would open new opportunities for our students and community as we expand our collection space, and also task part of the first floor expansion for the curation and preservation of artisanal and historical artifacts to be used in local history, Native American studies and museology," said Christopher Dyer, executive director of the UNM Gallup branch. "This coincides with our plans to open an Arts and Culture Center that displays and conserves the treasure of our historical and native cultures. Expanded space also allows us to provide the resources for new curriculum materials and programs, particularly in the fields of career technical education, information technology, and workforce development training.”
UNM Los Alamos
The bond also contains $500,000 to renovate and equip an emergency medical services classroom laboratory and EMT training area at UNM Los Alamos.
The EMT program is part of the UNM Los Alamos Emergency Response Degree program initiated in 2012 to respond to employment demands. The program provides training for careers in fire, EMT, police and public safety jobs. The current instructional space used by the program was once an elementary school gymnasium, adapted over 20 years ago in response to enrollment growth.
“We are hopeful that the GO bond will pass so that UNM-LA can continue to provide quality emergency medical services training to an increasing number of students. The need for trained EMTs and Paramedics in Northern New Mexico is growing quickly, and this is reflected in a big demand for our EMS program,” said Joe Candelaria, UNM-LA Fire Science & EMS Department Chair.
The remodel includes safety and structure repairs including exterior wall repairs for moisture abatement, double exterior door access, floor, lighting, IT and electrical upgrades to support the EMT simulation lab. The program requires extensive equipment storage and exterior EMT vehicle training and staging areas.
The $4 million earmarked for UNM-Taos will provide the resources needed for a Health Sciences Training Facility. One out of every two jobs in Taos County is in the healthcare field, and as of 2014, the first three cohorts of UNM-Taos Associates Degree in Nursing graduates have passed their National Council Licensure Examination 100 percent.
“This is a win-win,” said UNM-Taos Executive Director, Kate O’Neill, “because we will be able to address the urgent need for workforce development and job placement in northern New Mexico.”
The UNM-Taos Health Sciences Center and accredited Nursing Program are currently housed in a 4,500 square-foot, aging rented space several miles outside Taos. The relocation made possible by GO Bond C will provide 18,000 square feet of modern labs, offices and classrooms four and half times the current space.
Last year the UNM-Taos Branch was named the 17th fastest-growing community college of its size in the nation out of a field of over 350 institutions. This phenomenal growth comes at a price, however. The college’s facilities are pressed to the limit, and the improvements resulting from Bond C revenue are crucial to being able to continue providing quality, affordable instruction to those entering the highly competitive jobs market of the future.
UNM Valencia is tagged for $1 million for health and safety infrastructure improvements critical to the health and safety of more than 2,400 students, which includes 1,700 non-concurrent students and more than 900 Adult Basic Education students per year.
Repairs and updates to the HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system related infrastructure (piping, pumps and electrical service) are needed to keep current systems operational and to prepare the systems to connect to the campus wide chiller plant, which is currently in the planning process. The repairs and update will likely include changing the current layout, with pumps being relocated and re-sized.
Approval of the General Obligation Bond C will not increase taxes.