“I’m thrilled,” UNM President Bob Frank told the Journal. “We appreciate the regents’ support and that they did all their due diligence. It is a better project because of all the research.”
The board — six were present for the vote and one had left — had asked for more information about the First Baptist Church property at Central and Broadway Downtown, where the research district would be based, in a previous meeting. On Friday, a majority of the board were satisfied they got the answers.
Board President Jack Fortner scheduled a special meeting Friday because UNM only has until Jan. 5 to accept or reject a $1.5 million U.S. Commerce Department grant to help pay for the Downtown site.
The grant, combined with a $3 million donation from New Mexico Educators Federal Credit Union and $2 million in city bond money, would just about cover the property’s $6.6 million price tag.
Administrators asked for and got approval to spend the donated funds, as well as authorization for $800,000 more from the UNM Foundation to pay for a master plan and design guidelines for the site.
Administrators also asked in early December for $5.66 million in foundation funding to acquire and improve the Aperture Center at Mesa del Sol, but regents are not expected to discuss that until January.
Fortner said administrators have provided a lot more information since Dec. 6 to address regents’ questions.