LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KRQE) – New Mexico is doubling down on investments into the future of film in the state. Tuesday, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham broke ground on a media-focused educational campus at New Mexico State University’s Arrowhead Center.

“The Las Cruces satellite campus of the New Mexico Media Academy exemplifies the collaboration that continues to grow the film and television industry in communities all across the state,” Governor Lujan Grisham said in a press release. “The partnership between the booming industry and New Mexico’s tuition-free higher education will foster that growth and support the impressive field of top-notch production companies and media programs right here in Las Cruces.”

The so-called ‘Creative Campus’ will have a 4,000-square-foot soundstage, a volumetric (3d video) stage, and classrooms, according to the Governor’s Office. The facilities will represent a collaboration between from New Mexico State University, Doña Ana Community College, and the state’s Media Academy.

The Media Academy is something Governor Lujan Grisham has been working on for a while. It’s supposed to be “a certificate program that fast tracks people into in-demand jobs with high-level training and on-set paid apprenticeships.” Already, fifteen post-secondary programs have partnered with the Media Academy and have come up with a core curriculum, according to the Governor’s Office. Now, the Las Cruces Creative Campus will provide a working space.

The Las Cruces satellite location was chosen in 2022. The governor managed to get $40 million in funding for the program from the Legislature that year.

Supporters say investments in the film industry will pay off for communities: “The Las Cruces creative campus and bilingual curriculum will not only train southern New Mexicans for successful careers in film and television, but it will also boost a valuable industry in the ever-growing economy of the Borderplex,” New Mexico Economic Development Secretary Alicia J. Keyes said in a press release.

But during the most recent legislative session, some politicians spoke out against investments in an industry some see as not truly caring about New Mexico. While debating tax credits for the film industry, Rep. Jason C. Harper (R-Sandoval) said he feels like the industry is fickle and could leave the state if tax incentives dry up.

Still, the numbers from the Economic Development Department show that the film industry has brought billions of dollars to the state. Not only has the number of films and shows in products grown in recent years, but the average budget has grown as well.