2018 GO Bond construction set to begin Spring 2021

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Shane Buchanan

The 2018 General Obligation Bond for Higher Education proposed a renovation of Agricultural Facilities at NMSU.

In 2018, the General Obligation Bond for Higher Education proposed a renovation of Agricultural Facilities at New Mexico State University. Though it was approved, construction has yet to commence despite the project receiving over 25 million dollars.  

Heather Watenpaugh, university architect, commented on the seemingly slow progress of the planned projects.  

“Planning the General Obligation Bond projects take several years to move up on the Five-Year Facilities Plan for the Las Cruces Campus,” Watenpaugh said.  

According to Watenpaugh, part of the process includes the creation of the Agricultural Education Facilities Master Plan I and II documents, which were “completed in 2015 and 2017, respectively.” 

“Once the voters approve and the GO Bond passes, the project design moves forward,” Watenpaugh said. “Larger complex buildings like the lab projects that are to be developed often take 12 months to design and complete construction drawings.” 

An additional 18 months is reserved for construction, according to Watenpaugh. As of now, the project is undergoing the “Programming Phase with the design consultant teams.” 

“Early last week the architect’s team visited the campus and met with key stakeholders as part of gathering information to program the three new buildings per current or future needs for the colleges,” Watenpaugh said. 

According to the Agriculture, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences web page, the projects that are to be developed include a Food Science Security and Safety Facility, a renewed Animal Nutrition and Feed Manufacturing Facility and a Biomedical Research Center. 

In addition to providing a more effective learning environment for students, the proposal is expected to produce “an economic boom for affected communities.” The Go Bond webpage dictates that agriculture industries in New Mexico have contributed 11 billion dollars and 51,000 jobs for the economy.  

Watenpaugh further discussed the economic importance of the facilities.  

NMSU is poised to be an international leader in food projection and safety,” Watenpaugh said. “The Food Science Learning and Safety Facility will process locally produced agricultural products and support teaching to students.”  

In addition, the Biomedical Research Center will be utilized to research “some of the world’s most serious health problems.” Such diseases that will be carefully observed by both students and faculty will include cancer, fertility issues, obesity, and mosquito-born viruses, according to Watenpaugh 

The last building that was created for the Agriculture department was Skeen Hall, which was completed in 1999. According to Watenpaugh, renovation to Agriculture buildings have also been minimal.  

“The 2018 and 2020 GO Bond projects are long overdue for the Ag. District, and will make a significant improvement to the campus for teaching, outreach, learning, and safety,” Watenpaugh said.   

Next year, students can expect construction to begin for the three facilities.  

“Construction is expected to start in February or March of 2021,” Watenpaugh said. “And, the buildings will be ready for student use by Fall of 2022.”  

 

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