UNM looks to add new branch in Santa Fe

University of New Mexico, UNM
University of New Mexico, UNM

SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – The University of New Mexico is looking at expansion in Santa Fe once an arts college closes in June.

The prospect is already getting mixed reactions.

“I just like the whole scene there, all the arts stuff that goes on there,” UNM freshman, Jenna Whitten, said. “I mean, I love Albuquerque but it’d be cool – it’d be really cool to have that option.”

“I think it’d be cool. I probably wouldn’t just because I’m from out of state,” UNM freshman Elizabeth Brage added.

UNM Senior Vice Provost Rich Wood said if the university can find financial backing, it may take over the 64-acre Santa Fe University of Art and Design campus set to close after the spring semester because of financial troubles.

UNM is hoping it can partner with Santa Fe Community College, UNM-Los Alamos and UNM-Taos for students to offer on arts, innovations and entrepreneurship courses that can prepare them for a career in New Mexico.

“They’ll be kind of on the terrain of new design, innovation, new arts and creativity kinds of programs,” Wood said.

To make it happen under a tight budget, UNM is hoping it can rely on the deep pockets of Raffles Education Corporation out of east Asia. It’s a private university that wants a presence in American higher education.

“The idea is several hundred students from Asia coming in but also making this available to New Mexico students,” Wood said.

A task force is vetting Raffles Education Corp. and will make a recommendation to the university by the end of the year. If it’s a positive recommendation and the president wants to move forward with planning, Wood said classes in Santa Fe would start as early as fall 2018.

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