NMSU branding

New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

News Center

Bond Issue B Contains Agricultural Funding

LAS CRUCES -- Bond Issue B on the Nov. 5 ballot contains $9.4 million for an agricultural research, teaching and Cooperative Extension Service building at New Mexico State University.

If the bond issue passes, the funding would be added to $11 million in federal matching funds to build the Center for Sustainable Development of Arid Lands. However, federal funding is contingent on the bond issue's passage, and if it fails, New Mexico would likely lose the federal money, said John C. Owens, dean and chief administrative officer for the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences .

"The center would address a critical need for state-of-the-art research laboratories, teaching facilities and classroom space," Owens said. "We are particularly short of up-to-date laboratory space. Labs in the college are not up to modern scientific or safety standards."

Over the last two decades, NMSU has been the fastest-growing four-year institution in the state. As a result, NMSU has the least building space per student among the state's six four-year schools, Owens said.

Meanwhile, the number of students studying agriculture and home economics at NMSU is up almost 4 percent this fall, bucking the university's overall enrollment drop. Since 1988, the college's enrollment has grown by 47 percent.

The center would contain teaching laboratories, research facilities and more classrooms. In addition, the building would house the Extension Plant Sciences Department, the Plant Genetics Engineering Laboratory and two research and teaching departments: agronomy and horticulture, and entomology, plant pathology and weed science.

The center will address research needs of the Southwest related to irrigated agriculture, ecosystems management and issues related to other unique needs of agriculture in the region. Passage of the bond issue would support agriculture and natural resource programs statewide, such as NMSU's Extension, 4-H and Agricultural Experiment Station programs.

In addition, Bond Issue B contains funding to build, update and equip classrooms in 62 public school districts, as well as 14 colleges and universities.

The bond would cost a New Mexico homeowner about 3 cents per day or $10.80 a year for a $90,000 home. The net cost of the bond would drop as other educational bonds are paid off.