ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Walking into Clark Hall is like taking a trip back in time, but not in a good way.
The 60-year-old chemistry building at the University of New Mexico hasn't had a major upgrade in decades and it shows.
"I've seen the chemistry labs at the Albuquerque Academy and yeah, they're better," said Karen Ann Smith, a staffer who helps run UNM's research labs.
"A lot of our fume hoods don't work, you can't do experiments around the lab, there's no portable fume hoods and the building is in need of repair to a certain extent on the inside," said Chris Fullerton, a senior chemistry student.
Smith says maintenance crews are doing all they can to keep the out-of-date building safe and functioning, but leaking pipes and poor wiring are just part of what's making for a bad situation for students.
"Really the best thing to do is tear it out to the walls and start from scratch," Smith said.
The price tag for that major overhaul would be $16 million and would be paid for as part of a $120 million bond question up for voter approval on Nov. 6. That money would fund infrastructure projects at universities statewide.
Of that, UNM would get $24.5 million.
In 2010, state voters narrowly rejected a similar $155 million request. To prevent that from happening again, university foundations and other donors have chipped a little less than $300,000 into a political action committee running ads in support of the bond question.
But there's some concern that recent controversies could sour voters to funding universities. On Monday, New Mexico State University gave President Barbara Couture a $453,000 buyout.
At UNM getting rid of head football coach Mike Locksley cost $750,000.
"Anytime there's any press on money being spent on this or that or being misspent, people tend to generalize and think that that means everything's bad with the university, and that's not true," Smith said.
If the bond issue passes, UNM would also get funding for a renovation of its biology building and money for infrastructure and equipment upgrades for the Gallup, Los Alamos, Taos and Valencia branch campuses.
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