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San Juan College could receive $3.5 million if voters approve bond measure

Hannah Grover
Farmington Daily Times

AZTEC — San Juan College prides itself in its stewardship of the bond money it has received from state general obligation bonds.

And it has the chance to receive more funding if voters approve General Obligation Bond C during the November election.

Gayle Dean, executive director of the San Juan College Foundation, and Chris Harrelson, senior director of the physical plant, said every time voters have approved the general obligation bonds supporting higher education, San Juan College has used the money to complete the projects that it was intended for. These projects have included demolishing the fire tower, a STEM renovation and the health sciences building.

Dean said the bond helps improve education throughout the state.

“It’s making the state better every day,” she said.

Institutions of higher education like San Juan College would benefit if voters approve a bond measure.

San Juan College plans parking lot, road projects

If the voters choose to approve General Obligation Bond C, San Juan College plans to improve safety by lighting the west campus parking lot in Kirtland, completing a loop that will reduce traffic congestion at the main campus and improving several parking lots. The college’s share of the more than $156.3 million bonds would be $3.5 million.

“We did an assessment of roadways and drives and parking lot areas around the college when we were working on coming up with this project before we asked the state for approval,” said Harrelson. “And we came up with a combination of different fixes. Some was repaving. Some was brand new paving and brand new lighting. And some was just sealing pavement to extend the life.”

He said the proposed project includes six parking lots as well as quite a bit of roadway.

Harrelson said there is a loop around the college and a portion near parking lot A has not been completed. The funding will allow San Juan College to complete that loop, which could reduce traffic congestion.

“Traffic could go around the outside of the campus instead of having to drive clear up into the front entry every time they come in,” he said.

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And the college hopes to make it easier for visitors who haven’t been to the campus before.

“There’s also a wayfinding part of this project,” he said. “The campus has evolved over the past several years and has gotten to the size now that we are finding the public needs more help finding where to go around the campus.”

San Juan College could use bond funding to improve parking lots and roadways.

Bond measure won't change tax rate

While it is backed by property tax, Harrelson and Dean were quick to point out that approving the measure will not change tax rate. However, if the measure fails, property taxes will decrease slightly.

“I think the most important message is that for no tax increase (voters) can invest in all the institutes of higher learning and specialty schools across our state,” Dean said.

The bond measure would provide more than $156.3 million in funding to higher education statewide. This money must be used for capital improvements and acquisitions.

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Diné College in Shiprock could receive $1.3 million for construction of its agriculture multipurpose center.

Navajo Technical University could receive $1.4 million for renovation of its science and trades building.

The largest allocation of the funds would go to the University of New Mexico, which could use $30 million of the bond funding to construct a nursing building.

Meanwhile $3 million would go to New Mexico State University’s agricultural centers statewide and $18 million would be used to modernize NMSU’s agricultural science research facilities.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at hgrover@daily-times.com.

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