The article in the Albuquerque Journal’s “Rio West” section outlines UNM West’s $20 million expansion plans.
The State is mired in a serious budget crunch. Higher education just took a 5 percent hit in the special session held in October. And, New Mexico’s higher education student population is declining rapidly. So, it makes “perfect” sense that UNM Health Sciences Center would be building a $20 million expansion at its West Side campus.
It’s not that the programs and training aren’t necessary or helpful, but New Mexico already spends 6th-most in the nation per student according to 24/7 Wall Street. We simply can’t afford all of these “investments” using taxpayer dollars.
Leslie Morrison’s (listed as a vice-chancellor for academic affairs at UNM Health Sciences Center) comments are particularly enlightening. The facility opened its doors in 2010, yet Morrison stated in defense of the project that “we really wanted to re-energize UNM West, but…it needs more of a focus and it needs to have more students there.”
We couldn’t agree more, but rather than pouring more resources into an ever-expanding array of campuses and branch campuses, it is time for some tough decisions by Legislators and other policymakers. We don’t have enough money to fund what we have. The budget is being reduced and could be reduced even more. Why would we spend even more?
2 Replies to “UNM builds $20 million facility on West Side while higher ed’s budget is cut 5%”
Like always, follow the money. Why would they build a new building? Because Rio Rancho has millions sitting in a fund for any 4 yr college. It can only go to construction of buildings or infrastructure within city limits. They already lost 3.2 million to build Broadmoor Rd (under the belief that it is infrastructure for the UNM West). UNM was originally against the road but after meeting with Mayor Hull and City Manager they were for it. Could they have been promised an extra 2 million dollars for the 1st building that was given to them in December 2015? Sure looked like it. The Rio Rancho Higher Education Sales Tax is a 20yr tax and they don’t want to lose it to another college.
This institution has been a disappointment since its inception. When I drive by the building, I see about 30 cars on the lot. Students? Where are the students? The course offerings I’ve seen appear to be geared toward teachers’ master programs, not general education. 2 years ago, UNM tried to pull the wool over our eyes and turn this building into a charter high school. While the school certainly would have been a wonderful alternative to RRPS, my tax money is going to higher education, not a charter high school. Looking over the courses for the summer, this building seems to be geared toward younger children with course offerings such as robotics courses. Again, I applaud the offerings but I thought this was to be a college, not a kiddie summer school.
Now UNM is again attempting to justify this “campus” by developing a Health Sciences Center. It sure seems that UNM has a huge boondoggle sitting out there by the City Center.
It’s time again to attempt to turn back this 20 year taxation. Hopefully we can concentrate on the need (or lack of a need) for a 4 year college and not vote “FOR police and fire” as we did a couple of years ago. Let’s send a clear message that the higher education tax just isn’t working out as planned and dump it and UNM West. I suggest a “DUMP IT” campaign