The New Mexico Higher Education Department is recommending $214.3 million to fund facilities and infrastructure improvement projects at 28 college and university campuses across the state.
The agency’s recommendation includes 36 projects scored and ranked using the agency’s prioritization metrics, and includes funding for construction of new facilities, renovation of existing facilities, and infrastructure upgrades across 28 campuses statewide.
“The recommendation put forth by the New Mexico Higher Education Department represents hundreds of hours of collaboration and review on the part of the committee, my agency colleagues, and leaders representing college, university, and special school campuses across New Mexico,” Higher Education Secretary Stephanie Rodriguez said. “This year’s recommendation will help create jobs and keep New Mexico dollars in New Mexico while also improving and maintaining facilities for hundreds of thousands of students.”
The recommendations follow an extensive review process led by the agency to evaluate and prioritize projects by highest area of need and quality of the proposal. Recommended projects demonstrated support of key metrics, including an emphasis on student enrollment and retention, workforce development, job creation opportunities, asset protection, and economic stimulus to areas around the state most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This funding recommendation will invigorate the economy and provide infrastructure at higher education institutions to support safe and state-of-the-art learning environments for New Mexico college students,” Higher Education Department Capital Projects Director Gerald Hoehne said.
"The New Mexico Higher Education Capital Outlay Committee reviewed more than 52 capital outlay funding requests from public higher education institutions across the state,” Higher Education Department Capital Outlay Committee Chair Gerald Burke said. “The committee met regularly, convened hearings, and developed a list of recommended projects that were submitted to Secretary Stephanie Rodriguez for final review.”
The agency is also recommending an additional $5.7 million to fund the demolition of campus facilities that are no longer in use and present a safety liability and require high upkeep and maintenance costs to keep them secured.
The New Mexico Higher Education Department is requesting that these projects be funded via general fund or severance tax bonds, which are repaid using revenue from taxes on oil, gas, coal, and natural resources. A total of $196.3 million in project funding will go before voters in November 2022 as part of a General Obligation (GO) Bond, and the remaining funding will go before the legislature for final approval prior to being included in the FY23 budget. In addition to providing needed repairs and upgrades to campus facilities, construction projects employ local workforce, support local businesses, and contribute to local and regional tax revenue.
Earlier the New Mexico Higher Education Department launched a new software system for collecting, evaluating, and managing capital project funding requests from New Mexico’s public and Tribal colleges and universities, making it the first state agency to implement a system of this kind.
All capital project funding requests for public higher education institutions in New Mexico are submitted to the New Mexico Higher Education Department on June 1st of each year. Pre-COVID, the agency conducted a series of hearings each year in different regions of the state to vet proposals for capital project funding requests, but the past two years have been hosted virtually. During these hearings each higher education institution presents their proposals to the agency’s Capital Outlay Committee, which is made up of representatives from the New Mexico Higher Education Department, New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration, New Mexico Energy Minerals and Natural Resources Department, and the Legislative Finance Committee.
For more information about capital projects at the New Mexico Higher Education Department, visit www.hed.state.nm.us.