UNM asks for nearly $3M in capital outlay funds

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Every year, lawmakers put in hundreds of requests for millions and millions in capital outlay: money for road projects, police cars, robotic dinosaurs and more. School improvements are also big on the list, and that includes money for the University of New Mexico.

UNM is not denying it needs to upgrade old buildings, and build some new ones. That’s why it’s asking the state to fund 19 projects. The total price tag comes to more than $2.7 million, a lot of it for athletics.

In a recent interview, Athletic Director Eddie Nunez talked about improving the fan experience at the football stadium.

“I think the stadium is going to have a big focus over the next several years on who we can continue to make it a better atmosphere for our fans,” Nunez said.

Some help could be on the way. One of the proposals is $250,000 to improve the football stadium, including adding WiFi.

“I know a lot of people do use their data. It just I think would create a lot of advertisement for the football stadium,” UNM student Alexa Nguyen said.

Another idea involves $70,000 in upgrades to the baseball field, including a new sound system.

“There isn’t a good sound system there because acoustic-wise, it’s all open acoustic,” UNM student Lydia Nelson said.

The big one — a new $600,000 Olympic sports training facility for Lobo athletes, but it’s not all about sports. UNM says a committee ranks the school’s project needs based on cost and feasibility with focus on the main campus too.

One proposal could be music to the ears of anyone who’s been to Popejoy Hall — $200,000 for major upgrades to the bathrooms.

“We never have enough funds to address all the needs at the University of New Mexico so we try to spread it out to the various departments that have made those requests,” Chris Vallejos, UNM Institutional Support Services, said.

UNM has a capital projects committee that ultimately filters the requests it gets from different departments before sending the list to the state. A lot of the projects are for basics, like upgrades to HVAC, lighting, plumbing and electrical systems.

The capital outlay list does get pared down. A lot of the requests don’t make the cut as the list makes its way through the Roundhouse to the governor’s desk.

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