ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The University of New Mexico is gearing up to build its largest and one of the most costly buildings on main campus.
The new Physics & Astronomy and Interdisciplinary Science (PAIS) building will cost nearly $66 million but the university doesn’t have the green light just yet to break ground.
It will be up to voters, come Tuesday, to approve a portion of the funding that will be used to build it. In all, Bond C will provide more than $131 million in funding for universities and colleges across the state.
Right now students have to walk across Lomas to North campus to get to the current Physics & Astronomy building. It was built in 1951 and according to the university it’s outdated and falling apart.
Chair of the department, Dr. Wolfgang Rudolph, said students and faculty have been waiting for decades to get into a new building. He said the current one has served its use.
Some of the problems include a leaky roof and vibrations from the traffic on Lomas; problems Dr. Rudolph said aren’t ideal for when students are conducting their research.
When architects got to work on the original layout, it meant cutting off access to Redondo Road. The university said the board of regents didn’t like that idea.
“We had placed this large mass of building a little further south that covered this piece of road right here,” University Architect, Amy Coburn said.
So they changed the layout within the last two months. The brought the building back in and added another floor instead.
“There are other buildings that are an assemblage of many different projects over time but this will be the largest building on central campus,” Coburn said.
The building will include several laboratories, classrooms and offices for professors. Dr. Rudolph said the new facility is one that will only make UNM more marketable.
“We compete with other universities for top students and faculty and when we interview them they are always interviewed in Arizona, Colorado and in most cases they have better facilities to show off and we lose out,” he said.
If Bond C passes on Tuesday, $27 million will go toward the cost of the $66 million building. UNM said if the bond doesn’t pass, it will have to go back to the drawing board.
According to UNM the facility could be completed by 2019.