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By AP  /  
2014 August 20 - 03:08 pm

New Mexico College’s Dorm Plans Hit Major Hurdle

Governor Cites School’s Financial Woes in Rejecting Plan To Build Residence Halls on Campus

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Northern New Mexico College’s plan to construct its first on-campus dorms has hit a wall.

Gov. Susana Martinez and the state Board of Finance declined to grant the college’s proposal for financing the buildings because of the school’s own financial troubles, according to the Albuquerque Journal.

The school had requested approval for revenue bonds that would have generated as much as $13 million for the project.

Martinez said at a board meeting that officials were hesitant to sign off on the project.

“I think we need more time in viewing the stability of the institution before there’s continued investment,” Martinez said. “I’d rather do the more responsible thing, rather than dig ourselves deeper.”

The college last spring cut several faculty positions, child care and three degree programs to close a $250,000 budget gap.

The school had planned to break ground on the dorm project this fall at its Espanola campus. The proposal calls for three dormitories, each three stories tall and big enough to house 200 students.

The governor even suggested deferring the construction by a year.

College officials, however, are not giving up hope. Ricky Serna, the college’s vice president for advancement, said the school is looking at alternate funding sources. Possible ideas include some sort of privatepublic partnership, Serna said.

Northern President Nancy “Rusty” Barcelo said the on-campus dorms are a key marketing point for luring students outside a 40-mile radius.

The college offers both 2- and 4-year degrees.

“We’re finding more and more of those individuals who would like to come to Northern but, because we do not have housing, that poses a problem,” Barceló said.

Northern, which also has a campus in El Rito, currently serves 1,300 full-time students.

Enrollment, however, has fallen by 20 percent, or 400 students, since 2011, according to school officials.

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