Regents Approve $14.5 Million Bond For New Dorm

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. July 6, 2011 – The New Mexico Tech Board of Regents approved sale of $14.5 million in bonds for dormitory construction at a special meeting Tuesday.

The university has experienced increasing demand for on-campus housing, with existing dormitories stretched to maximum capacity.

University President Dr. Daniel H. Lopez said that Tech considers on-campus living an integral part of student success.

“Our studies have shown that undergraduates who live on campus have a higher rate of success in college,” he said. “Our goal is to ensure that we have ample living space on campus to accommodate all our housing requests.”

The incoming freshman class for the fall 2011 semester appears to be record size – breaking last year’s record of 355 new students.

The Residential Life Office used every available space in 2010, which included giving roommates to residential assistants who typically are given solo rooms. Several community rooms in dormitories were converted into living quarters as well. As of July 1, Tech had a waiting list of 25 students who want to live on campus.

“We expect the trend of increasing enrollment to continue,” Lopez said. “This bond sale will allow us to proceed with construction plans.”

The new dormitory will be built on the south side of campus, at the current location of Baca Hall and the Children’s Center. Once the new Macey Family Child Care Center is built by Macey Center, the current daycare center will be razed. Phase I of the dormitory construction will occupy the daycare center. Then, Baca Hall will be razed and Phase II of dorm construction will commence.

The new dormitory is expected to have capacity for 150 students, adding about 80 beds to the Residential Life inventory.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the Board of Regents discussed a resolution authorizing the sale of the bonds, making minor changes to clarify the language. New Mexico Tech last issued revenue bonds in 1998 for the construction of the Altamirano Student Apartments. The university finished paying off those bonds in 2009.

University administrators will meet with bond rating organizations, such as Standard & Poors, during July in an effort to secure a higher rating. Tech was rated as AA- for the 1998 bond sale. Bond attorney John Peck told the Board that the university should be able to improve its rating to AA+.

New Mexico Tech must now seek approval from both the N.M. Higher Education Department and the N.M. Board of Finance. Lopez told the Board that the recently adopted moratorium on university construction included an exception that allows construction on projects that do not require state funding and that do not affect the funding formula.

The Tech Board of Regents will again review the bond proposal during the annual retreat on August 5, and hopefully grant final Board approval. Final approval will allow Tech administrators to seek state approval for actual sale of the bonds.

– NMT –

By Thomas Guengerich/New Mexico Tech