The University of New Mexico is expanding its presence in downtown Albuquerque. More than 200 UNM Hospital employees will be relocating to a modern facility at 400 Tijeras Blvd., adjacent to Civic Plaza. This move will better accommodate the technological needs of the UNM Hospitals’ financial services group while also allowing for the expansion of the nationally-renowned Albuquerque Institute for Math and Science (AIMS@UNM) charter school.
“By extending our presence into the downtown area we are enhancing the possibilities for a more vibrant and innovative downtown experience shared by all,” said UNM President Garnett S. Stokes. “It’s a real win-win situation – it’s good for education, healthcare, the economy and the community.”
Soon, the UNM Hospitals personnel will be working out of the building formerly occupied by Molina Healthcare of New Mexico. The hospital is leasing 40,000 square feet on the 4th floor of the 425,000 square foot building. The move will allow for about 225 hospital employees to have expanded workspace accommodations, enabling them to better serve New Mexican patients in a field that grows more technologically complicated each year. Since the building was previously used in a similar capacity, there is no need to renovate the space, add workstations or run data cables, saving an estimated $1.7 million in capital costs.
“UNM Hospitals is always looking for ways to improve the services we give our patients, to partner with our community, and to increase engagement and satisfaction amongst our workforce; this move allows us to do all three things at once and we are looking forward to this new opportunity," said UNM Hospitals CEO Kate Becker. “Health care is a major economic driver nationally and in our own community and we are delighted to bring some of this vital industry back to downtown Albuquerque.”
Having UNM Hospital employees as part of the downtown landscape also strengthens UNM’s collaboration with the City of Albuquerque, which was made even more visible when the Lobo Rainforest building was established as an anchor point to the Downtown Albuquerque Innovation District in 2017. Having the hospital workers adjacent to Civic Plaza will support the downtown Albuquerque economy by infusing it with an additional people who will eat, shop and recreate in the area throughout the week.
“Downtown Albuquerque has so much to offer the community, and I’m thrilled our partners at UNM are taking advantage of that,” said Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller. “This aligns directly with the City’s vision for economic development by generating more growth and activity for downtown businesses.”
Meanwhile, the vacated property at 933 Bradbury Dr. SE on UNM's South Campus will provide 15,000 square feet of newly-renovated space for AIMS@UNM – allowing the school to consolidate from two buildings into one at UNM Science and Tech Park. AIMS@UNM charter school is one of the top schools in New Mexico, preparing graduates for post-secondary education by enabling them to enroll concurrently at The University of New Mexico starting their junior year of high school.
“Right now our students are moving across parking lots to get from one building to the next, which is inefficient and not a good way of doing things – and as a principal I don’t like that,” said Kathy Sandoval-Snider, director of AIMS@UNM. “This consolidation will not only be safer, but will also streamline our operations while giving students at one of the premiere charter schools in the state a modernized building in which to study and learn.”
The UNM Real Estate Department, which manages the UNM Science and Technology Park on behalf of the UNM Board of Regents, has been seeking financially viable options to consolidate AIMS@UNM for a number of years. The Lobo Development Corporation’s board of directors approved up to $1.3 million for the renovation project in June and redevelopment is already underway at the future AIMS@UNM site. The building improvements are owned by Lobo Development Corporation and they will fund and manage the construction project in partnership with the UNM Real Estate Department. Lobo Development Corporation will be reimbursed through rent payments. The space will be delivered to AIMS@UNM prior to the spring semester.