Alibi V.25 No.50 • Dec 15-21, 2016 

Newscity

News City
Robert Maestas

UNM Planning Future Construction

The University of New Mexico will be seeing some big changes next year as construction begins on five large projects which total over $170 million in costs. Some of the changes will be renovations on current classroom space, while the more ambitious plans will include the complete removal of some older buildings. The McKinnon Center, which will cost $25 million, is a 65,000-square-foot building that will replace the two buildings used for UNM's business school. One of the buildings will be demolished this month, and plans to begin building are set for January. The Farris Engineering Center will be renovated—current plans include new faculty offices, administrative offices, shared study spaces and a new research lab. The Farris project has already started, and some of the exterior walls of the building have already been removed. This year, students will also see the construction of a completely new, 65,000-square-foot facility that will be added to the Domenici Center for Health Science Education. The new building will offer more classroom space for the health science program, which has attracted a higher volume of students recently. Construction for the new building began in May, and planners expect to see it completed by January 2018. UNM is also planning to renovate Johnson Center, home of the university's recreational facilities. The plans have not been made public, but input from the student body was sought last month. The most expensive change will come from the new Physics and Astronomy building, with a price tag of $65 million. Plans include the demolition of the current building, which officials say is obsolete, and replacing it with 137,000 square feet of new classroom space and research labs. The new building, construction of which is expected to begin in the fall, is expected to attract more students to STEM studies.

State's Rural Poverty Worst in the Nation

According to the Census Bureau, New Mexico's rural population has the highest rural poverty rate in the nation. In a survey that was released earlier this month, the state's rural areas were reported to have a poverty rate of 21.9 percent. It was one of only six states where the income inequality rate of rural households was higher than urban households. This is especially significant since N.M. has retained a larger rural population than the national average (22.6 percent to 19.3 percent in 2010). Six of the state's 33 counties are considered to be 100 percent rural: Catron, De Baca, Harding, Hidalgo, Mora and Union. The population in these areas accounts for less than one percent of the state's total population.

Downtown Development Gets City Approval

The city’s Planning Commission has approved plans made by Titan Development and Maestas Development Group to start construction on the Broadstone Highlands east of I-25 on the north side of Central across from Presbyterian Hospital in July 2017. The 74-unit semi-urban multi-family community with studio, one- and two-bedroom units is the first step in a project that will eventually include a Marriott Springhill Suites Hotel, food court and retail shopping center. The developers are also working with the City of Albuquerque Public Art Urban Enhancement Program to install art and lighting in the underpass under I-25 to make Central more pedestrian-friendly.