As the University of New Mexico-Valencia Campus gets ready to kick off another academic year, its advisory board is busy planning for the future.
On Tuesday, Andy Gomez, associate director of business operations, told the board that Custer, Basarich Architects will begin designing the college’s new 20,000 square foot building.
Voters approved a $5 million obligation bond in April for additional classroom space in a new building to be located west of the current academic building. The campus plans to add technology and computer labs, as well as a cadaver lab. The lab would be used in programs such as nursing training.
It will take one year to complete, and the opening date of the new building is anticipated in the fall of 2004.
“This is a top-flight group of people,” Alice Letteney, executive director of the campus, told the board. “They have a great deal of expertise in doing these kind of labs.”
Chairman David Chavez added that the project will be videotaped and aired on the Internet through a virtual tour.
“After they’re finished taking the photos, you’ll be able to walk through it,” Chavez said. “You will have a better appreciation for what you’re getting, and you can correct those changes you want before the building is constructed.”
The fall semester at UNM-VC stars Wednesday, Aug. 14. Letteney thanked the staff and administration. “I want to thank all the levels of cooperation on this campus. The leadership is at a high level. That really helped our students.”
Regarding adult basic education, Belen and Los Lunas Schools have reported a drop-out rate of approximately 9 percent. Educators question why only half the number of students who enter ninth grade graduate four years later.
Board Member Paul Luna discussed the idea that students are moving to other districts and Valencia County is losing track of them.
“Police officers are finding kids hanging out on the streets who say they’re being home-schooled or go to private school,” Luna said.
“We’re not maintaining data. Districts should follow their entire academic career. Right now, there’s no follow-up at the next school.”
Board Member Mary Lou Chavez added, “It’s almost impossible to track students.”
Raymond Rondeau, associate director of student services, said Los Lunas, Belen and Bosque Farms should try to create a county ordinance. “We should have a truancy meeting with all the mayors in the county … get together and write an ordinance.”
Luna mentioned that the Isleta School has a truancy policy in which, if kids don’t show up at school, the district takes parents to court. “There are still things in this community people can learn and do … like start a referral program,” Luna said. “It’s a long process, but we need to get smart about it. People sitting in these chairs were probably talking about the same problem 15 years ago.”
In other action, the UNM-VC advisory board discussed;
- Fall enrollment. A total of 1,286 students have signed up for classes this year compared to 1,277 last year. The number is scheduled to change after Friday’s disenrollment.
- The board has been invited to the annual conference for the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities in Denver in October.
- UNM-VC is starting classes early this fall to raise money for the endowment fund. Its goal is to raise $30,000. On Aug. 24, the college will hold a fundraiser at K-Bobs in Los Lunas. Tickets to the luau dinner are $35 per couple and $20 for singles. Call the development officer at 925-8550 for more information.