If you’ve turned on your TV or opened your mailbox lately, I’m confident you have noticed this is an election year. While Election Day isn’t until Nov. 8, early voting has begun in New Mexico. I want to make sure everyone is aware of an incredibly important item on your ballot this fall. It’s GO bond 3 for higher education and, if approved by the voters, it would mean more than $51 million in funding to support various projects across the NMSU system — all without increasing your tax rate.
Among the items included in GO bond 3 is $22.5 million to replace and modernize the 50-year-old Thomas & Brown Hall on our Las Cruces campus. This project will foster research opportunities while expanding student-centric and experiential hands-on learning facilities for students from across campus. It will also feature a learning community designed to enhance student success.
This year’s GO bond also includes $15.5 million for nursing, health and education facilities at our Las Cruces campus. This funding would support needed renovations to both the Health and Social Services Building and O’Donnell Hall. These two buildings house the majority of the newly created College of Health, Education and Social Transformation. Renovations totaling $13.5 million will help consolidate and integrate some departments that are currently housed in multiple locations and create more state-of-the-art multidisciplinary smart classrooms. The project will provide capacity for planned growth in disciplines like nursing and kinesiology. Another $2 million will help expand and modernize the Nursing Skills and Simulation Center to directly address the nursing shortage in New Mexico.
The New Mexico Department of Agriculture, which is headquartered at NMSU’s main campus and serves the entire state of New Mexico, would receive $10.5 million to replace its outdated facility. Previous phases of this project, funded by severance tax bond and general fund appropriations, are expected to be complete early next year. This new phase will include replacement of the outdated original NMDA main building with a new administrative facility to address statewide needs, including space for the Healthy Soil Program and Food, Farm and Hunger Initiative staff.
Additional projects include $1.35 million for infrastructure improvements and roof replacement at Doña Ana Community College and $1.25 million for renovations, infrastructure improvements and roof replacement for Martinez Hall at our NMSU-Grants campus.
A separate bond issue for libraries, GO bond 2, will provide $6 million statewide for university library resources, of which the NMSU system will receive a portion.
All of these projects represent important areas of investment for the future of New Mexico while also creating job an estimated 500 jobs in Doña Ana County and more than 2,000 jobs statewide. By investing in nursing, health and educator training, voters can have a direct impact on the quality of health care and education in our region. Along with supporting cross-disciplinary learning and research opportunities in engineering and related fields, voters also have an opportunity to provide support to our agriculture industry across the entire state through NMDA.
For information about GO bond 3 projects throughout the NMSU system, visit gobond.nmsu.edu. For more about all of the higher education projects on GO bond 3, which total $216 million statewide, visit bond3fornm.com.
Dan Arvizu is chancellor and president of the New Mexico State University system.