Voters OK UNM-VC bond by 585-307
Voters approved a $5 million general obligation bond for the University of New Mexico-Valencia Campus Tuesday.
The bond passed with 585 voting in favor of it and 307 against it. Of the 33,175 registered voters in Valencia County, 892, or 3 percent, voted in Tuesday’s election.
The highest voter turnout was at the First Presbyterian Church in Rio Communities, with 178 people casting ballots. The lowest was at Isleta Head Start, which drew four voters, who split their votes, 2-2.
It failed in only two precincts: Los Lunas Schools Administration Building, with 25 against and 16 for, and at Gil Sanchez Elementary School, with a narrow 19-18 margin.
Dr. Alice Letteney, executive director of the campus, said Tuesday, “We think that almost a two-to-one margin is wonderful. We’re very excited and grateful for the support of the community, and we look forward to building our classrooms and getting more student services space. We couldn’t be happier.”
Reinaldo Garcia, dean of instruction at the campus, said: “This means we’ll have the space to teach classes the way we want to teach them, with added technology and computer classes. The anatomy and physiology labs is a big one for us, so we can give our students the training they need right here, without having to send them to UNM.”
Because the bond was passed by the voters in Valencia County and northern Socorro County, a new 20,000-square-foot classroom will be built on the campus in Tomé. The bond election will also help expand the student services complex.
The additional classroom space is just a portion of what is planned for the new building. The campus wants the new building to house several laboratories, including a cadaver lab.
The new building will be built directly west of the current academic building. The bond will also help build an additional parking lot west of the Learning Resource Center.
Letteney said the new building will provide higher levels of technology for the faculty and the students. Along with the general classroom space, which will be housed in the new building, several computer labs will be available for instructional use.
Andrew Sanchez, associate director of business operations, said the campus is also in need of renovations. Along with some general renewal and replacements, Sanchez said, they want to do some Americans with Disability Act upgrades, re-do sidewalks and re-pave the parking lot.
The bonds will be sold this summer, and an architect be hired in the fall.
“It will probably go out to construction in late 2003, and it would take a year-and-a-half to complete,” Sanchez said. “We’re thinking it will be complete in late 2004 or in the spring of 2005.”
“We need more space to teach the courses the way we want to teach them,” he said. “This is buying into the future.”
Clara Garcia is the editor and publisher of the Valencia County News-Bulletin.
She is a native of the city of Belen, beginning her journalism career at the News-Bulletin in 1998 as the crime and courts reporter. During her time at the paper, Clara has won numerous awards for her writing, photography and typography and design both from the National Newspaper Association and the New Mexico Press Association.