Contact: Wendel Sloan at 505.562.2253
Reporter: Dr. Steven Gamble
(The following guest column was originally written by Dr. Steven Gamble, president of Eastern New Mexico University, for the Portales News-Tribune.)
PORTALES – On Nov. 5 voters will have the opportunity to invest in the educational future of generations of New Mexico students by approving Bond Issue "B" in the General Election.
Approval of this issue will not only provide over $93 million for education statewide, but $5.25 million will stay right here in Portales for improvements at your hometown Eastern New Mexico University. The cost of this bond issue is less than $1.00 a month for the typical homeowner.
Included in this total is $4 million to build a new communications center at Eastern to house the KENW-TV and KENW-FM public broadcasting stations. The current metal structure was built in 1974 and was expected to have a maximum life expectancy of 20-25 years. Today, its wiring would not meet modern codes. During a recent rain storm, a 35-gallon trash can in one of the studios was filled to capacity with water from a leaking roof. With a mandate from the federal government for all television stations to go digital within the next few years, updating the facilities is absolutely critical.
While KENW continues to turn out some of the most qualified TV and radio broadcasting graduates in the country, the appearance of its facilities is making it increasingly difficult to compete in attracting students against universities that have more modern facilities. Although what goes on inside the building is on a par with any university in the country, we need the physical facilities that match the effort our faculty and staff devote to turning out national-caliber graduates.
A new communications center would also provide badly needed classrooms for communications students. As it stands now, communications students have to commute between classrooms in buildings around campus to the distant broadcasting building for hands-on training. A new communications center would streamline a seamless transition between classroom learning and hands-on experience.
As the public broadcasting stations for eastern New Mexico, a new communications center for KENW-TV and KENW-FM benefits all citizens of the region who depend on and enjoy the quality programming of PBS.
In addition to a new communications center, the passage of Bond Issue "B" would also provide over $1 million for infrastructure improvements on ENMU's Portales campus. This would allow us to upgrade such things as utilities, parking lots, lighting, leaking roofs, and make other improvements to our campus to enhance our students' college experience.
In addition to ENMU-Portales, our branch campuses in Roswell and Ruidoso would also receive funds for infrastructure improvements, as well as our good neighbor to the north, Clovis Community College.
Not only would a "FOR" vote on Bond Issue "B" benefit higher education in Portales, it would also benefit higher education throughout the state in allowing us to better compete with the higher education systems of other states in turning out graduates who can help our state's economy compete on the national level.
Bond Issue "B" not only benefits higher education, but would also provide funds for needed improvements by the New Mexico School for the Deaf and the New Mexico School for the Visually Handicapped, and to purchase or build classrooms for full-day kindergarten programs throughout the state.
The best thing about a "FOR" vote on Bond Issue "B" is the return it brings on a very modest investment. The cost of the educational bond will be about 34 cents per $1,000 of a property's assessed evaluation, as the cost to property owners is based on one-third of the appraised value. For example, the cost for the owner of a $100,000 home with a $33,000 taxable value would average about $11.35 per year for ten years. A $60,000 property, for example, would be taxed at an average of about $6.86 per year for ten years.
A positive "FOR" vote for Bond Issue "B" on Nov. 5 will pay substantial dividends in the future of New Mexico's education, including a very substantial dividend right here at home in Portales.
We would greatly appreciate your support in helping us continue to make a reality of our slogan at Eastern New Mexico University: "Student Success: That's What It's All About!"
In a guest column he wrote for the Portales News-Tribune, President Gamble said, "While KENW continues to turn out some of the most qualified TV and radio broadcasting graduates in the country, the appearance of its facilities is making it increasingly difficult to compete in attracting students against universities that have more modern facilities."