Over the weekend, the Albuquerque Journal ran an excellent story on the UNM Campus in Rio Rancho, built at a cost to taxpayers of $13.5 million, which is severely underutilized. The story details the paucity of students who take classes on the campus and includes interviews with several local politicians who attempt to defend the white elephant.
Of course, the proliferation of college campuses is right in line with previous RGF research on the topic of New Mexico’s many college campuses and the fact that these buildings are too often built for “economic development” purposes and not due to actual demand.
This “build first, ask questions later” attitude is common in government, but especially common here in New Mexico. And, if you think it has gone away, you better think again. For one example, check out the scope of UNMH’s Master plan which includes adding an astonishing 1.5 million sq/ft of office space by 2020. And yet the plan spends more time discussing sculpture gardens than it does analyzing the budget or any demonstrated demand for that kind of massive development.