This November, voters throughout our state will have the opportunity to provide New Mexico’s colleges, universities and specialty schools with the ability to ensure our students receive the education they need to succeed by voting on General Obligation Bond 3 for Higher Education (GO Bond 3).
Best of all, voting on $215.6 million for public institutions will not increase property taxes!
There are multiple benefits to a college education. People without an education past high school are more likely to live in poverty and less likely to be employed.
An in-state college education is a good investment. New Mexico was named second in a list of seven states where “college is worth the cost,” according to an article on forbes.com. Student Loan Hero crunched the numbers to figure out the return on investment (ROI) for colleges in all 50 states.
According to the article, New Mexico students enjoy a high ROI on their college degrees. The average grad sees a return of 151 percent. And compared to workers without a college degree, college graduates in New Mexico see an average pay bump of $17,000.
People with college degrees are more likely to be employed. Nationally, 83 percent of those with bachelor’s degrees and 78 percent of those with associate’s degrees or some college were employed.
By way of comparison, only 69 percent of those with only a high school diploma were employed.
Below are a few of the requests.
New Mexico Tech is requesting 2022 GO Bond funding for both its Socorro campus and its Playas Research and Training Center (PRTC) in Hidalgo County:
Replacement of Kelly Hall Laboratories (Socorro County) – $3.3 million:
- The 2022 funding would be added to previous GO Bond funding to pay for construction of a new wing on Kelly Hall, which houses NMT’s Petroleum Recovery Research Center, providing key research in support of New Mexico’s oil and gas industry.
- The new wing will replace the aging part of Kelly Hall with modern laboratory space that will aid in the facility’s mission of petroleum research, as well as innovations in cleaning produced water (a nonpotable water by-product of oil and gas production) and carbon sequestration.
- This new facility will provide state-of-the-art laboratories for our researchers as well as for NMT students who gain practical experience in these fields of study.
Playas Training Facility (Hidalgo County) – $5 million: New Mexico Tech’s Playas Training and Research Center (PTRC) serves government and industry clients, nationally and internationally, that require controlled environment, reality-based testing and training venues in any aspect of physical security.
It is located in the southwest “boot heel” area of New Mexico.
This proposed funding would be used to support additional federal funds that will pay for a variety of infrastructure upgrades at PTRC, including:
- Rehabilitation of approximately 10 miles of road;
- Repair and replacement of street lights;
- Water system rehabilitation (fire hydrants are not to code, water tank leaks and water system failures occur);
- Sewer system replacement; and
- HVAC improvements.
These updates to the PRTC environment will provide significant opportunities to conduct cutting-edge research that aids in ensuring our country’s physical security.
Why are all these projects so important?
In some cases, GO Bond 3 money is needed to make sure the educational facilities we’ve already invested in are safe and comfortable learning environments.
Projects include fixing or replacing leaky roofs, installing sprinklers and fire suppression, and replacing failing, inefficient heating and air conditioning systems.
GO Bond funding is critical because in most cases it is the ONLY source of adequate funding our colleges, universities, and specialty schools have to make these kinds of needed investments and renovations.
Support of GO Bond 3 is an important economic driver in many communities, since it will create an estimated 2,000 jobs in construction, architecture and related fields.
GO Bond 3 funds can also help our institutions of higher education develop the capacity to attract top students from throughout New Mexico so they get an education in-state and stay in New Mexico to establish their careers and contribute to our economy.
A strong system of higher education is something all New Mexicans can support. A vote on GO Bond 3 will prepare students with the skills and knowledge they need to become our next generation of leaders — without raising property tax rates.
Absentee and early in-person voting begin Oct. 11, 2022. Expanded early voting is scheduled from Oct. 22 to Nov. 5, 2022.
Election Day is Nov. 8, with polls open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
For more information about specific projects around the state and how passage of GO Bond 3 will have a positive impact on New Mexico, visit Bond3forNM.com.
Stephen G. Wells
New Mexico Tech President