This is where UNM’s property comes to die — or, ideally, to be resold to a different department.

The Surplus Property Department, under the administration of University Services, is responsible for disposing of items that are worn out, unusable or obsolete, supervisor Christopher Lopez said.

“We’re a basic operation, but we’re needed by the University,” he said.

Lopez said when someone from any department — including the Health Sciences Center and all branch campuses such as Gallup, Valencia and Los Alamos — has something to get rid of, he and the four other employees at Surplus Property are in change of figuring out what to do with it.

Once the property is received, it is not simply thrown away. The next course of action depends on the item and its condition, but Surplus Property makes it a priority to mitigate the losses of the original department that it came from.

“Normally, any item of value in a Surplus list will be resold through all means available, i.e. Request for Bid, Auction House, special auction, online sale, to recover the maximum monies to re-invest in the mission of the requesting department,” according to notes on the Disposition Detail List for 2014.

For example, if a computer is less than four years old, Surplus Property might have IT employees re-image the hard drive, install new anti-virus software and sell it back to a UNM department for $50. During its showroom hours five days a week, representatives from various departments can come by to look at available items for sale.

“During the daily showroom hours, Surplus Property invites UNM departments to purchase, at very reasonable prices, used office furniture, office supplies, re-initialized computers, and basic medical equipment or supplies, to name a few,” reads “UNM Surplus Property: Who we are,” a report from Board of Regents agenda notes.

If the property cannot be sold back to UNM, it is made available for recycling, donation or auction. The Surplus Property department commissions Bentley’s, an auction and appraisal firm, to sell items to the public.

“We fill up a trailer for public auction every couple of weeks, and they pick it up,” Lopez said. However, getting rid of property is not always that straightforward. The Board of Regents must approve the disposal of any item valued at $5,000 or above. In 2014, around $386,000 worth of these higher-value items were disposed of.

Some examples of larger, more expensive items that Surplus Property deals with include incubators, industrial ovens, simulators, laboratory ventilation hoods, electrical transformers and computer servers. Lopez said that when he first began his job at the department they had to dispose of a boat.

“We get everything through here, one way or another,” he said.

Lena Guidi is a freelance reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at or on Twitter @DailyLobo.