NMHED Recommends $29.7 Million for Campus Repairs & Upgrades

Stephanie Montoya
NMHED Recommends $29.7 Million for Campus Repairs & Upgrades

Santa Fe, NM – The New Mexico Higher Education Department has recommended $29.7 million to fund infrastructure improvement projects at 22 college and university campuses across the state.  

The recommendations follow an extensive review process led by the agency to evaluate and prioritize projects by highest area of need and quality of the proposal. Recommended projects will address critical health and safety issues, ensure campuses are ADA and code compliant, and preserve aging campus facilities statewide. Other approved projects will provide necessary equipment and facilities to support instruction, research, and workforce training.  

“Making sure that our students have a safe and healthy environment to learn is a top priority,” Acting Higher Education Department Secretary Stephanie Rodriguez said. “These project recommendations will help ensure that campus facilities are up to par without passing the cost on to students.”   

Selected projects include roof and building repairs, fire safety system upgrades, and plumbing and electrical repairs. Other initiatives include funding to support the establishment of an agricultural multipurpose center at the campus demonstration farm at Diné College’s Shiprock campus, and providing the University of New Mexico’s new Center of Excellence for Orthopaedic Surgery and Rehabilitation in Rio Rancho with clinical, rehabilitation, research, and academic teaching equipment. 

The projects would be funded via severance tax bonds repaid by revenue from taxes on oil, gas, coal, and natural resources, and will be included in the FY22 budget after undergoing approval from the legislature during the upcoming 2021 session. Funding for campus infrastructure projects for the upcoming year were approved by the Legislature in 2020 and are included in General Obligation Bond C, which is on the ballot for the November 3rd election this year. 

Like the general obligation bond projects  currently on the ballot, capital projects funded by severance tax bonds do not raise taxes as they are paid for by existing tax revenue.  In addition to providing needed repairs and upgrades to campus facilities, construction projects employ local workforce, support local businesses, and contribute to local and regional tax revenue.  

All capital project funding requests for public higher education institutions in New Mexico are submitted to the New Mexico Higher Education Department on June 30 of each year. The New Mexico Higher Education Department conducts a series of hearings each year in different regions of the state to vet proposals for capital project funding requests. During these hearings each public higher education institution presents their proposals to the committee. This year’s hearings took place remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The committee is made up of representatives from the Department of Finance and Administration, Legislative Finance Committee, Energy Minerals and Natural Resources Department, and New Mexico Higher Education Department.