ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The University of New Mexico is spending millions of dollars to turn a former sorority house into a new home for another university program. UNM Regents said it’s not only important for sustainability, but they’re hoping this old building will draw in top ROTC recruits and the sorority that lives across the way said they’re happy something will be done to the old building.
“The building itself isn’t in great shape right now,” said UNM student Kiera Hanley. Paint is peeling off and windows are broken.
“Right now it’s not the cutest,” said UNM student Alissia Haagenstad. Some exterior walls are crumbling.
UNM’s old Alpha Chi Omega sorority house off University and Mesa Vista Road is not the ideal image of a former Greek house. “But it will be nice to have use for it,” said Hanley. Instead of tearing it down, plans are in the works to bring it back to life. Not as a Greek house, but as an ROTC center to house the Air Force, Army, and Navy service units.
“The three are currently housed in separate inadequate, older buildings which do not support 21st century ROTC training or educational needs or provide higher educational environment,” said Lisa Marbury during a UNM Finance meeting. The current ROTC buildings are neither safety or ADA compliant and some don’t have enough facilities for female recruits.
The proposed design plans include enough space for things like classrooms and computer rooms. Regents hope the renovation will make UNM a more competitive choice for ROTC recruits.
“If you go to Texas or Tulane or any other of these major universities, the facilities they provide for these programs are pretty impressive,” said UNM Regent William Payne. “So when we bring prospective students to UNM, it will be nice to have a state-of-the-art facility to encourage them to come here with.”
For the sorority house across the street, they’re thankful to soon have new neighbors. “I think it’s really important to try to sustain every building UNM has right now instead of using more resources than necessary,” said Hanley. “It’s a perfectly good building that needs renovating.”
There’s a fence surrounding the building in preparation for construction but it’s unclear when that construction is supposed to start. The changes come with a big price tag. The Board of Regents’ Finance and Facilities committee signed off on spending about $9.5 million to renovate the building. It now goes to the full board.