Beer will soon be flowing at the University of New Mexico.
The Board of Regents last week unanimously approved construction of a taproom inside the Student Union Building, a $650,000 project expected to open in August.
The OK comes about 1½ years after a pair of UNM students introduced the idea and started circulating a petition to demonstrate support.
Proponents of the taproom have cited the potential social and educational opportunities, and officials say they vetted the idea with a number of different groups.
Sara Collins – who, along with Gus Pedrotty, initiated the taproom push in the fall of 2016 – expressed her gratitude ahead of the regents’ vote.
“Everyone at the university supported us,” she said. “Everyone took meetings with us – people who students think they have no business meeting with took meetings with us.”
The taproom will consume about 2,100 square feet of existing space in the SUB’s southeast corner and also incorporate an outdoor patio, according to UNM documents. Chartwells, UNM’s food service contractor, will operate it.
Chris Vallejos, associate vice president of UNM’s Institutional Support Services, said Chartwells could decide to partner with a local brewery for the operation.
Six respondents answered Chartwells’ recent “request for information” meant to gauge interest among members of the New Mexico Brewers’ Guild, though UNM has not revealed their identities.
UNM will cover the construction costs with $325,000 from its Dining & Food Services plant fund and another $325,000 from a capital projects account provided through its Chartwells contract.
UNM will seek approval from the state Higher Education Department next month, and officials say construction should start by May.