It’s no secret that the University of New Mexico is running out of room on campus and needs more parking. Now, an 89-year-old building is falling victim to that need for more space. Some faculty and students have a problem with that.
Tucked behind the trees at UNM’s main entrance off Central and Yale, you’ve probably noticed this tiny building.
“Well, I’ve always loved that building,” said UNM student Jose Encinas. “I walked by it every day.”
It’s the old Yale Pump Station and it’s been around since the 1930s.
“If you go inside, you still see the pumps and everything,” said former UNM graduate student Ronak Shah.
Shah researched the Yale Station during his time at UNM.
According to documents, this small pump station had a big purpose, storing water pump equipment for the reservoir that stood just a few feet away. But after UNM bought the deserted station and reservoir from the city in the ’90s, the buildings started to crumble and stood in the way of UNM’s expansion plans. So, the university took down the reservoir, and going up in its place is a state-of-the-art Physics and Astronomy science building.
Now, UNM said it’s eyeing the old pump station as the next target to demo and could either use the space to expand Yale Park or use it for a parking lot. The idea got mixed reactions.
“I would like to see it stay there,” said Encinas.
“I don’t see a problem with them taking down the smaller building to create more spots for parking,” said UNM student Devin Mitchell.
Faculty and historic preservation committee members would rather see this space be brought back to life as a coffee shop, but its fate is sealed. UNM plans to take it down.
“This space can be more utilized in terms of like a people’s plaza,” said Shah.
The demo date has not been set and the school said it doesn’t know when it will have a decision on what will be built there.
The old pump station is not on any local, state or national register of historic places.