ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The University of New Mexico and New Mexico State University are asking for millions of dollars from state lawmakers for upgrades to their athletic facilities. In this legislative session, UNM is asking for a total of about $13.4 million to help with about nine different projects.
The requests include everything from tennis court improvements to upgrading the golf training facility. The biggest requests include $3.5 million to improve the baseball and softball facilities and improve their ADA accessibility. UNM is also asking for $2.5 million for upgrades to University Stadium, which would include getting a new video board.
The biggest single item request is $4 million for improvements at The Pit. UNM said the improvements would mostly focus on safety and the fan experience. If approved, the money would help fund things like buying their own metal detectors, upgrading the sound system, investing in new technology to speed up concessions, and adding an HVAC system.
Over in Las Cruces, NMSU is asking for a total of about $16.8 million for 13 projects. “There’s not a lot of luxury items on here. There’s a lot of ‘have-tos’ for our student-athletes to compete,” said Mario Moccia, NMSU Athletics Director. The requests cover everything from roof repairs and softball lighting to locker room renovations for a number of sports.
It would also cover getting a new football video board. “Anybody who’s been to Aggie Memorial Stadium has seen that that is an aging piece of equipment that’s failed at times,” said Moccia.
The big ticket item is the request for $10 million for a new stadium press box. “That came along with the original stadium in 1978. So, that is a very very old structure. Anybody who’s seen that knows that the occupants not during the season are skunks and owls and doves because part of it is open air. When we have a TV broadcast and they’re out in the elements, you know, so if it rains, there’s an unholy mess up there,” said Moccia.
Each university is hoping to get a piece of the state-funding pie. Typically, the universities won’t know which requests are approved or how much money they will receive until closer to the end of the legislative session.
“It’s really important to our student-athletes to be able to train in a safe, environment and have up-to-date equipment. It means a lot to the people of Las Cruces as well,” said Moccia.