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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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Bond issue would fund addition and renovation to O'Donnell Hall

New Mexico State University and its branch campuses will receive more than $15 million for building projects if voters approve Bond Issue B on the state's general election ballot in November.

An architectural rendering of New Mexico State University's O'Donnell Hall

Included are $9.5 million to fund a renovation and expansion of O'Donnell Hall, which houses the College of Education, and $3.5 million for Phase III of the Dona Ana Branch Community College's East Mesa Center.

"If we are to aggressively address state needs for more and better-trained teachers, then the College of Education must grow. To grow, we need additional space," said Robert Moulton, dean of the College of Education.

O'Donnell Hall was constructed without windows in the mid-1960s. It does not meet the College of Education's space needs, it doesn't support modern technology and teaching methods, and it has significant structural problems, Moulton said.

If approved by voters, the funds for O'Donnell Hall would be available in March 2005. With an added $2.5 million from university revenue bonds, the total budget for this phase of the project would be $12 million, which will allow a new building addition of 40,000 gross square feet and the demolition of about 10,000 square feet of the east wing of the current building. Design work would be done in the summer of 2005 with construction projected to be completed by December 2006.

"The new space will accommodate classrooms and administrative space, which is justified by the growth of the college and the increased significance of its mission to the people of New Mexico and the border region," Moulton said.

The College of Education now serves 1,600 undergraduates and 1,000 graduate students and is one of the fastest-growing colleges at NMSU.

The Dona Ana Branch Community College, recognized as one of the nation's fastest-growing community colleges in recent years, would receive bond funds to help meet its needs in one of its population growth areas. The East Mesa Center opened in September 2003 and continues to see a growth in its enrollment.

Statewide, Bond Issue B includes more than $94 million for projects ranging from vocational education facility expansion to equipment for public television, information technology updates and improved access for people with disabilities.

KRWG-TV would share $2.3 million with the other two public broadcasting stations in New Mexico. The funds would be used for conversion to digital signals, which was mandated by the Federal Communications Commission.

General obligation bonds are a traditional method of financing educational facilities in New Mexico. The bond issues are repaid with property tax revenues. If Bond Issue B is approved, the state Department of Finance and Administration estimates the additional cost for the owner of a $150,000 house, with a taxable value of $50,000, would average about $15.26 per year over a 10-year period.

Bond Issue C, also on the November ballot, would provide more than $800,000 to NMSU for library books and related materials for libraries at the main and branch campuses.

The estimated cost of Bond Issue C would be an average of $2.62 per year over a 10-year period for the owner of a $150,000 house.