This November voters will be asked to consider passing four general obligation bonds (GO Bonds). GO bonds are the primary source of capital improvement funding for New Mexico’s higher education institutions. They come before voters every two years and do not increase property taxes.
GO Bond D takes in New Mexico’s colleges, universities and specialty schools.
In Socorro, New Mexico Tech is looking for $7,100,000 of the total for the renovation of Brown Hall.
Brown Hall is a three-story (including the basement), 23,872 square-foot building that was built in 1929 and serves as the main administrative building for New Mexico Tech. Offices housed within the building include the Office of the President and offices for Academic Affairs, Student University Relations, Administration and Finance, Human Resources, and Research and Economic Development. Brown Hall is on the historic registry.
New Mexico Tech President Stephen Wells said that although the bond’s passing will not raise taxes for any New Mexicans, the university – as well as the community – will benefit from the renovation of one its historic buildings.
“This bond will not only allow New Mexico Tech to complete a renovation of one of its most historic buildings, Brown Hall, but will also provide the resources to make our campus safer and more secure,” Wells said. “GO Bond D will provide better lighting on campus, repaved parking lots, and more blue-light security phones for students, faculty, staff, and visitors alike.”
He added that it “will also add over 70 jobs to Socorro County while protecting the investment our communities have made in our institution.”
According to officials, Brown Hall hasn't had any major remodeling in quite some time.
“The basement was done in 1989, the budget office was done in 2006,” said Thom Guengerich from the Office of Communication and Marketing.
When the state issues general obligation bonds, it is borrowing money that is paid back with property tax revenues. New Mexico has an excellent bond rating and therefore can borrow money at a very favorable interest rate, which benefits taxpayers because the lower the interest rate, the lower the impact on property taxes.
In particular, the renovation will provide:
• High efficiency refrigerant cooling throughout the building, updating the internal circulation within the building by connecting the building to the campus chilled water loop.
• Removal of the ad hoc mixture of cooling systems.
• Addition of a new fire sprinkler system throughout the building.
• Upgrade of the Electrical, Mechanical, and IT systems that will utilize direct digital controls for the HVAC system providing energy efficiencies.
• Remodeling all three floors of the building to some extent to provide much needed office space and storage.
• Landscaping upgrades that will better integrate the rear entrances of the building into the campus common.
Three other general obligation bonds are also on the ballot.
GO Bond A is for senior center improvement. Socorro County is asking for a total of $88,900 for improvements to the Veguita Senior Center to address code compliance issues, and for the purpose and installation of equipment and building systems.
Another bond question, GO Bond B, would commit $12,876,000 to libraries. It includes $4 million each for higher education libraries, public libraries and public school libraries, plus $750,000 for New Mexico Tribal libraries. The funds are earmarked for a variety of uses including print, non-print and electronic resources, collaborative resources for the entire state and broadband internet equipment. Every library in Socorro County, as well as Tech’s Skeen Library could benefit from Bond B.
GO Bond C would fund school bus acquisitions to the Public Education Department for $6 million.