Nick Stern Staff Reporter
In response to Rio Rancho’s need for expanded higher education offerings, CNM and UNM are currently planning to share a building to help meet those needs, said Brad Moore Director of Media and Communications Relations (MCO).
CNM is fully aware that Rio Rancho needs more science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education programs, along with different healthcare-related programs of study, Moore said.
“Meeting the workforce needs for the Rio Rancho community and collaborating to provide a well-educated, highly skilled workforce to support the community’s economic growth is important to both UNM and CNM” said President Kathie Winograd in statement to MCO.
“The purpose of the project is to better meet the needs of Rio Rancho and Sandoval County,” Moore said.
CNM has limitations on its current Rio Rancho campus, because it only has one building that lessens its ability to offer additional programs of study, and many STEM and healthcare programs require specialized laboratories, Moore said.
These required specialized labs would not be possible to create with ease, convenience or practicality in the CNM Rio Rancho Campus building, he said.
The plan is based on the idea of CNM and UNM sharing a building that would be located on either a CNM or UNM campus in Rio Rancho, which are both located in the Rio Rancho City Center, Moore said.
CNM and UNM are currently in the process of scheduling and creating community forums in Rio Rancho which would serve the purpose of gathering input from the local community members and business leaders, in order to find out what programs of study are most needed in the area, Moore said.
The two schools will also be making a decision about what specific STEM or healthcare programs of study would go into the proposed new building, keeping in mind that classrooms and labs for certain STEM and healthcare programs require very unique facilities, he said.
The schools will decide where the building is to be located, as in which of the two college’s Rio Rancho campus, he said. Then, in order to use CNM funds, the Governing Board would have to approve any proposed project of this size and scope, he said.
There would then be competitive bidding processes to first select a design firm to design the building, and then the same for the choosing of a contractor to build the building, he said.
The project is not yet considered to be an official project and can take at least two more years to see the light of day, he said.
There are a lot of details still needing to be worked out and CNM is still very early in the process of giving the project life but CNM greatly acknowledges its need to increase its educational offerings in Rio Rancho and intends to do just that, he said.
The hope and goal is to move forward with the plans to build a collaborative facility with UNM which will help meet such needs, Moore said. “CNM is striving to be as responsive as possible to the needs of the Rio Rancho community and its economy. In addition to meeting with its community members and business leaders over the next month, CNM is also working with the Department of Workforce Solutions to identify workforce needs in that region,” Moore said.