RIO RANCHO, N.M. (KRQE) - It's part of Rio Rancho that doesn't get many visitors, yet it's supposed to be the City Center. Now, the city and UNM are hoping to change that by making a few additions.
"Efforts are underway to construct a new campus park right here at City Center," says Mayor Gregg Hull.
This week, Rio Rancho Mayor Gregg Hull gave his State of the City report. In it, he gives a glimpse into plans to expand the City Center.
"The park will connect the city center area, create an outdoor gathering place for the community, and provide a place for UNM West college students to study and relax," says Mayor Hull.
At the moment, the City Center holds City Hall, the Santa Ana Star Center, HP, CNM, and the UNMH Sandoval Regional Center.
It's not exactly where the action's at. That may change, though, with the new park.
According to the CEO of the Sandoval Regional Center, there is a possibility of expanding the UNM West campus.
"It's about a 50,000 sq. ft. building that would include academic research and clinical space," says Jamie Silva-Steele.
That building would cost $20 million. On top of this, Silva-Steele hopes to see a new tower for the hospital and other amenities.
"Create walking trails and bicycle pathways between our buildings, and being able to connect the campus through that linear park," she says.
Silva-Steele says this has been in the works for years, but when the recession came, their plans took a turn.
Now, she is hoping this new vision for the City Center will not only benefit the people working there, but also the people living in Rio Rancho.
"All of this starts to create a draw or magnet to that part of the community that we haven't had before," she says.
A spokesperson with the City of Rio Rancho says the design cost will be about $286,000 with construction expected to begin in 2019. There is no estimate on the cost of the park just yet.
The new building for the hospital could begin in late summer of 2019.
The last time anything was built in the City Center was the Sandoval Regional Medical Center back in 2012.
CORRECTION: KRQE News 13 previously reported the cost of the campus park would be about $286,000. The script has since been fixed to reflect the correct information.
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