ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – As the space industry takes off in New Mexico, one lawmaker wants to create a space school, and is looking for state and federal help getting it off the ground. Central New Mexico Community College is leading the effort for a $60-million Space Valley Center on campus. “New Mexico is perfectly positioned to do this. I mean with the spaceport that we already have here and then all of the scientific labs and Kirtland which is definitely into space,” said Senator Martin Hickey.
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Sen. Hickey is sponsoring Senate Bill 161 which is asking for $6 million from the federal government’s Build Back Better grant, to be appropriated to the Higher Education Department. That money would be part of the $60-million plan to design, construct and equip facilities for a Space Valley Center at CNM. The vision is to create lecture spaces and breakout rooms where all different parts of the space industry can come together in one place.
Sen. Hickey says this project is not just about CNM but the entire state of New Mexico. “This is an investment seed. You plant this you get probably a billion, couple two or three billion dollars of spin-offs coming into New Mexico. How many jobs does that create? Well at least 1,000 in the beginning and more than that as we continue to be the center,” Sen. Hickey said.
He will present the bill to the legislature next week. There needs to be a 20% match for the $60 million project. Sen. Hickey is asking lawmakers for $6-million and CNM would be responsible for providing the other $6-million.