Santa Fe, NM- The first day of February was deemed “Grant County Day” at the State Capital, with many local business owners and investors, deemed prospectors, traveling to the roundhouse to lobby. Western New Mexico University presented their case to the New Mexico Cabinet Secretary Dr. Barbara Damron as part of the New Mexico Higher Education portion of the day.
President Joseph Shepard lobbied for capital requests totaling in 8.4 million dollars, that would be dispersed throughout the university. Expenses would include $6,000,000 toward the renovation of Harlan Hall, the science building, as well as critical campus roof replacements that would total at around 1 million dollars, and an additional 1.3 million toward campus infrastructure. Funding increases were also requested for Athletics, the Student Success Center and a Veteran’s Center. The University also requested that the state maintain their current funding, as well as a compensation increase for staff and faculty and special funds for different programs.
Other topics that came up during the meeting was a request to sustain funding for the Early Childhood Development Center. Executive Director Shannon Rivera expressed concerns that any further budget cuts might cost the program it’s accreditation, making it difficult for students to continue their professional training. Student Government also pitched their visual application idea, requesting $250,000 in funds to make the idea a reality. Dr. Shepard also praised the University’s growing relationships with the Mexican states of Chihuahua and Sinaloa and mentioned that a few prospectors, as well as Senator Howie Morales, were interested in launching a WNMU baseball team.
The meeting concluded with state representatives presenting Dr. Shepard with a certificate. Before the meeting adjourned, Shepard mentioned several other topics that the prospectors were lobbying for, urging Dr. Damron to consider them as well, since establishments such as Hidalgo Medical Services and the Silver and Cobre Consolidated Schools have strong relationships with the University.
“All ships are high when the tide is high,” Shepard said.