The University of New Mexico unveiled a $436,500 upgrade to the Northwest corner of Central and Girard to enhance safety and create a welcoming gateway to campus.

The site improvement includes a large UNM monogram to welcome visitors and desert landscaping to enhance the corner’s beauty. The area is intended to invite interaction from people who may be interested in taking photos while branding the corner and eliminating safety concerns from previous infrastructure.

The Associated Students of the University of New Mexico (ASUNM) were awarded $400,000 by the NM State Legislature in 2020 to design and implement safety improvements to the area. UNM Facilities Management contributed additional funds to the project.

MRWM, an Albuquerque-based landscape architecture firm, in partnership with UNM Planning and Design, designed the new corner using Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) principles. It is now visually unobstructed with improved lighting and new landscaping, all of which play into creating a clear sense of managed environment. 

Community feedback was incorporated throughout the design process. Construction began in July and the monogram was installed in December.

“This powerful UNM marker and supportive landscape result from ASUNM's desire for improved safety and access between student housing and Nob Hill amenities. The student's commitment to an improved street experience inspired their successful bid for state funding and launched this project,” Amy Coburn, UNM Architect, said. “The design team took the opportunity to remove walls, open up sightlines and develop UNM's brand 'mark' in three dimensions. We are thrilled with the result - a positive, energetic space on our Route 66 campus address.”

The installation marks the completion of a project nearly three years in the making for ASUNM. The student-led organization has helped secure funding from the New Mexico State Legislature for several past UNM projects. 

“It is an amazing experience to see student advocacy leave a tangible mark on campus. I know that I’ve been looking at this construction since it started last summer, excited to see the final product and I am happy to say that I think it is a great way to welcome our students, staff, faculty and visitors to UNM,” Ian May, ASUNM President, said.

Though the project was started by students who have since graduated, May said working to improve the UNM community is an irreplaceable experience for students that would not have been possible without funds provided by the Legislature.

“I would absolutely like to thank the New Mexico Legislature for funding the renovation and other capital projects we have requested,” he said. “Enabling great leaders on this campus, like students, to envision a better campus and see the projects to completion is an invaluable opportunity.”

The organization also collaborates with University departments on the review and development of projects associated with Institutional Bonds.

ASUNM plans to request funding for other student safety projects during the 2023 Legislative Session. Proposed projects from the student organization include improved lighting in parking lots, improvements to the intersection at Redondo Drive and Yale Blvd and infrastructure for a student-led campus escort program.

Visitors to UNM’s campus are invited to check out the new gateway and take photos with the monogram to share their Lobo pride.