Rooney: Vote On Bond C Is Vital For UNM-LA

Cynthia Rooney, CEO of the University of New Mexico-Los Alamos, speaks at Kiwanis on State Bond C and its importance to UNM-LA. Photo by Don Casperson

Kiwanis Club of Los Alamos

Cynthia Rooney, chief executive officer of the University of New Mexico-Los Alamos (UNM-LA), spoke at Kiwanis on Oct. 25, explaining the importance of the $142,356,000 State Bond Question C on the Nov. 8 General Election ballot.

Rooney is a former professor at the University of New Mexico Anderson School of Management. At UNM-LA, she was a professor, Business Department chairwoman, associate dean, and dean of instruction before becoming interim executive director in 2015 and then chief executive officer in March 2016. She has lived in White Rock since 1998.

She said passage of Bond Question C would mean $500,000 to UNM-LA.

In its initial request, UNM-LA asked for $1 million, to be spent between January 2015 and December 2018, but when the competitive process was completed, UNM-LA came away with half that amount. The project outline for the $1 million request said the money would be used:

  • To renew, replace, and upgrade existing facilities infrastructure;
  • To provide energy savings and extend the life of facilities;
  • To correct heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) deficiencies;
  • To do some glazing work; and
  • To upgrade restrooms.

Rooney noted that UNM-LA is located in a former elementary school. Most of its buildings are old, and several were constructed with passive solar that didn’t work out well. There are cracked windows that need repair, and the restrooms need upgrading for adult use and Americans with Disabilities Act compliance.

Kiwanis member Linda Daly asked, “What didn’t get funded?” Rooney said that UNM-LA will work on the same projects that were proposed, “just less of each.” She said, for example, “We would have done more bathrooms” if full funding had been approved.

Rooney made available to those in her audience a flyer that said, in part, “Bond C for Higher Education will provide more opportunity for New Mexico’s students, create local jobs, and provide communities around the state an economic boost, all without raising taxes.”

The flyer also states, “General Obligation Bond C for Higher Education is about supporting our community by ensuring that students have the tools and facilities they need to be successful. A strong system of higher education has an impact on all New Mexicans because a better education leads to meaningful careers and a stronger economy.”

The brochure included a list of 21 counties with projects that would benefit from Bond C.