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Regents ratify union election

Board also approves parking lot as site for new Architecture Building

Despite emphasis on tuition increases, the Board of Regents managed to cover other business Tuesday, including ratifying a staff union and selecting the site for the new Architecture and Planning Building.

The regents ratified the results of a union election for educational support staff employees. The employees eligible for the election mostly included student advisers and excluded managers.

Of 1,050 eligible voters, 658 cast ballots with 531 voting to unionize and 127 voting against it. The union met the minimum number of votes to make the election valid - 630 votes or 60 percent. The group easily met the simple majority it needed to win the election.

Susan Carkeek, associate vice president of human resources, told the regents that the vote was supervised by an independent party - attorney Rita Siegel.

A staff member asked the regents to consider developing options for those in the voting block opposed to the union to remain independent and added that she did not vote because she did not want to help the union meet the minimum voter turnout requirement.

The board unanimously ratified the union.

During the same meeting, the regents approved the parking lot east of the UNM Bookstore as the site of the new Architecture and Planning Building.

The new building will be built on the site of an existing 89-space parking lot. The site was recommended based on its proximity to the College of Fine Arts Library, which is in the Popejoy Hall. The building will include a new parking structure that will be on the northeast corner and will feature about 320 spaces.

The facility also will include about 68,000 square feet of undergraduate and graduate design studios, a lecture hall, classrooms, computer graphics laboratories, a light and acoustics laboratory, a shop facility and administrative and staff support space.

The board's decision allows the UNM's Facility Planning to move forward with development of the project. The final plans still must be approved by the Board of Regents.

The project costs $10.5 million, with $500,000 coming from 1997 New Mexico State General Obligation Bond proceeds and $8 million from 2001 New Mexico bond proceeds. The School of Architecture and Planning is fund-raising $2 million from private and other sources to complete the remainder of funding for the budget project.

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