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Bond would mean $12M for county

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Margaret McKinney
Highlands University
Education Bond D is on the statewide ballot Nov. 2, giving New Mexico voters an opportunity to support infrastructure improvements at public colleges and universities throughout the state.


Statewide, Bond D would fund $155.2 million in higher education improvements. In San Miguel County, funding would total $12.1 million, with $7.1 million allocated for Highlands University and $5 million allocated for Luna Community College. More details are online at www.educationinnewmexico.com.


Bond D replaces funds from higher education bonds set to expire. Bond D would be funded through property tax collected by the state. The cost to property owners is $9.98 a year for an assessed value of $100,000.


If Education Bond D passes, Highlands University will use the $7.1 million to restore the historic trolley barn on its main campus and transform it into a unique, cutting-edge facility for its growing media arts program and the Las Vegas community.  


The trolley barn is a historic and architectural treasure built in the classic Romanesque style with local sandstone. Its location at 12th and San Francisco is a block from the Gallinas riverwalk.


 In 1903, Las Vegas had one of only two electric trolley systems in the state with the other one in Albuquerque.  Later, the trolley barn was used as the Las Vegas Power & Light Building.  


The vacant trolley building is listed on the State and National Registry of Historic Places. It will not survive without restoration.


The university’s growing media arts program continues to build its regional and national reputation for excellence in design, multimedia, photography and film production. Media arts students have created projects from the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.


In New Mexico, media arts students are actively involved in presenting New Mexico history and culture using the latest multimedia technology and design trends. The media arts program’s partnership with the state Department of Cultural Affairs places students in internships at sites like the National Hispanic Cultural Center, the city of Las Vegas Museum, and the New Mexico History Museum.


“Our strong partnership with the Department of Cultural Affairs has provided our media arts students with numerous opportunities to create exciting new exhibits in museums and other cultural institutions,” said Highlands University President Jim Fries. “This is a professional and growing program, and a building designed to address media art’s space and technical needs is paramount to the program’s continued success.


“Bond D construction projects also help the local economy through jobs and money spent at local businesses,” Fries said.


Fries added that past Bond D funding has had a big impact on improving Highlands University’s facilities for its students, and the university is grateful. Recent examples include remodeling the Lora Shields building and the Felix Martinez building, several energy-efficient  projects that have reduced consumption and costs, campus safety improvements and more.