Tuesday’s ballot is full of candidates for a variety of races, but the bonds voters will weigh in on have gained significant exposure over the last year.
For UNM students, Bond C in particular stands out.
Bond C has been promoted through billboards, posters and signs all throughout campus and Albuquerque, and if passed, could help students at UNM and other universities around New Mexico.
The bond would distribute $136 million across the state’s higher education institutions to cover needed improvements, construction and the effort to bring campuses up to code.
According to a New Mexico Higher Education Department report, the bond will be used for “new construction or replacement projects.”
UNM Main Campus would receive $27 million to build the Physics & Astronomy and Interdisciplinary Science facility.
In an article written by Mark Peceny, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Peceny said Bond C will be combined with institutional bonds from student fees to cover construction costs.
“The new PAIS building is designed to catalyze and expand on existing strengths by placing anthropologists, geographers, biologists, geologists, chemists and physicists and their complementary tools and skills in close proximity to one another,” Peceny said.
In a 2015 capital outlay report, the project is estimated to cost $66,446,710. The remaining cost of the facility will be covered by 2014 and 2015 Severance Tax Bonds, and UNM Institutional funds.
Bond C will allow the University to expand existing programs and continue to pave the way for new research, said Aaron Hilf, a University communications representative.
“The facility will most definitely lead to new research and collaborations that involve students,” he said. “A big part of PAIS will be its focus on interdisciplinary research, allowing scientists from several different fields the opportunity to work in close proximity to one another and develop ideas for future projects.”
The bond will create modern and up-to-date research labs and classrooms, and enhance student success in the STEM program, stated a report by Peceny and Chaouki Abdallah, UNM provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs.
Modern sensors and visualization data will allow the Center for the Advancement of Spatial Informatics Research and Education to observe, measure and track changes in local ecosystems, Peceny said.
The Center for Stable Isotopes will be able to measure isotopes in elements such as carbon, nitrogen and oxygen, he said.
They will partner with the anthropology and radiocarbon laboratory to study the evolution of species and human civilization’s reaction to changing environments.
A new Center for Bioinformatics and Genomics will also be created to study human changes at the genetic level throughout history, Peceny said.
The center will be used to study the world’s largest collection of chimpanzee genetics. The nation’s largest collection of frozen tissue, provided by the Museum of Southwest Biology, will also be examined within this facility.
These departments hope to apply for the National Science Foundation's Science and Technology Center grant to help further their research, he said. State of the art labs can gain national recognition, and bring more professionals and partners to contribute to the University.
Van H. Gilbert Architects and architecture firm EYP’s Boston-based Science and Technology team have been selected to design the facility, Hilf said. A contractor has not yet been chosen to build the facility. Severance tax bonds are acquired from the state through several tax programs, such as natural resource taxation and royalty payments from production on federal land.
UNM institutional funds come through the University’s sale of bonds, Hilf said. They do not affect taxation and are created from University revenue.The facility is slated to be completed by 2019, and will cost $66,446,710, the report said.
Nikole McKibben is a news reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @nmckibben92.