Student group representatives discussed the state of several upcoming capital projects ventures for UNM, and how they could have a negative impact on students.
On Tuesday, the Associated Students of UNM’s Joint Council convened for the third time this semester to discuss UNM’s upcoming and ongoing capital projects, including Johnson Gym, Smith Plaza and the new Physics and Astronomy center.
Student representatives from the College of Arts and Sciences, Engineering Department and the Accessibility Resource Center voiced their concerns about how the construction process could potentially affect students from their specific departments.
University Architect Amy Coburn and Lisa Marbury, executive director of Institutional Support Services, were present at the meeting to introduce several of the proposed projects.
Their presentation was comprised of plans for both renovations and expansions to the campus and ideas for improving campus circulation.
In general, representatives from the Joint Council were most concerned about the University’s use of funds for these projects and what limitations the construction process would place on students.
Danielle Ho, representative from the College of Arts and Sciences, questioned the source of funding for the projects in light of the University’s expected budget cuts.
Marbury explained that the financing for these projects is considered capital funding and allocated from the state specifically, and only for these projects.
She said the total amount necessary is usually gathered over the course of several years.
Marbury cited the new Farris Engineering building as an example of this strategy, pointing out that it took a total of seven years to gather all of the necessary funding to begin construction.
Funding for other projects, like the Physics and Astronomy building, is entirely dependent on General Obligation Bond C passing on Nov. 8. Without Bond C, the entire project will be derailed.
Tammy Ramirez-Harmon of the Accessibility Resource Center said she was worried about how parking and accessibility will be affected, especially for those with accessibility issues.
In particular, she was concerned about the removal of handicapped parking spaces to make room for construction areas.
Marbury responded by saying that Parking and Transportation has been working with the Accessibility Resource Center to address these issues and incorporate changes into plans for improved campus accessibility.
Gabriela Garcia-Huff is a news reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @thegreen_gablin.