ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A building boom is coming to the University of New Mexico as the school prepares to start six new construction projects on a crowded campus that’s already short on space.
“We’re going to have $180 million worth of buildings kick off this summer,” UNM’s President Bob Frank said.
Five of those projects will be built on the university’s main campus. Frank said since the university can’t expand out, its only choice is to build up or work with the space they have. Take for instance a reservoir near the bookstore built back in the 1920s. It hasn’t been used in nearly 20 years, and UNM plans to replace it with a new physics building.
“We’ve just gotten rights to it because it belonged to the water authority,” Frank said. “We’re going to take that old reservoir that hasn’t been used and that will be one of the last pieces of big undeveloped land on the campus.”
According to Frank, once constructed, it will be the largest building on campus.
Then there’s the expansion of the Farris Engineering building where construction has already started. Both projects are along Redondo Road and UNM’s president admits, although this is an exciting time for the university, not everyone is going to be thrilled with all the construction.
“It will touch parking and the way people move around campus,” he said. “So between now and 2019 some people will be inconvenienced.”
On north campus, UNM is getting ready to begin the third phase of the Health Education building. UNM said after the building is up, it will lose about six rows of parking in the “M lot.”
“We’re going to need another parking complex here in the future, that’s the next thing we’re going to take on,” Frank said. “We’ve started dialogue about how to do it and where to do it but we don’t have an answer today.”
Other parts of main campus will see cranes and construction crews with the expansion of UNM’s Anderson School of Management, the renovation of Johnson Center and a complete makeover of Union Square.
“At the end it will all be worth it and people will be smiling,” Frank said. “But for now the way traffic moves around this circle on campus, it’s going to be difficult.”
These projects are paid for with bond money and capital outlay from the state. Students fees will help pay for the Johnson Center makeover.