Every summer The University of New Mexico hosts thousands of youngsters on campus for a myriad of summer camps providing education and recreation. This year though, a few of the larger camps for younger children will be on hiatus, so UNM is asking parents to plan ahead and check into other options.

Due to the renovation and expansion of Johnson Center, where the majority of the camps are held, UNM’s Recreational Activities Day (RAD) Camp Summer, the Sports Leadership and Learning Academy—formerly known as the Summer Youth Sports Program, and the majority of the UNM Continuing Education Youth Programs will not be offered.

The programs typically run from early June through mid-July and include sports, games, recreation, teamwork and leadership exercises, arts and crafts, swimming, field trips, and other activities. About 700 children typically take part in the RAD and Sports Leadership and Learning Academy camps alone. UNM does not have another available location on campus conducive for these activities.

“We apologize that we won’t be able to offer all of the camps during this construction, but it is only temporary, and the updated facilities will make the experience even better when the camps reopen,” said UNM spokesperson Cinnamon Blair. “Also, we hope parents will check into some of the other camps at the University focus on individual sports, arts, music, science or leadership skills.”

UNM kicked off planning efforts for the renovation of Johnson Center in 2016, using input from students and campus employees. Students expressed a desire for facilities that support an active lifestyle while on campus. Some ideas included a new Multi-Activity Court (MAC), a rock climbing and bouldering wall, racquetball/handball courts, an expanded Outdoor/Bike shop and an indoor running/walking track.

Last fall, UNM selected a combined team of local architects, FBT/Hastings+Chivetta, to design the new facility and to work closely with University personnel throughout the process. Construction is scheduled to begin in June of 2018 with a target date for completion in December 2019.

Because of that timeline, the summer camp programs using the facility will be scaled back for the summers of 2018 and 2019 but will reopen in 2020.

The College of Education is also reevaluating its Summer Youth Sports Leadership and Learning Academy (SYSLLA) which is also canceled this summer.

Camp registration typically starts in late Spring, so camp organizers are working to get the word out early to allow parents extra time to look into alternatives.