Katharine Winograd said such a decline is typical for Central New Mexico Community College during a time when the economy is improving and people return to work instead of going to school.
The Rio Rancho location has 1,174 students enrolled for the fall session – a decrease from 1,498 in fall 2013.
Winograd, UNM West CEO Wynn Goering and Rio Rancho school district Superintendent Sue Cleveland spoke to a room full of businesspeople this week and discussed the future of the University of New Mexico and Central New Mexico Community College campuses in the city.
Winograd said that, later this month, the school will start offering more “career technical” courses at the old AMREP building near N.M. 528 and Northern.
Classes at that location start on Sept. 15, and students can study child development, diesel equipment and electrical systems, electrical theory, electrical DC/AC lab, criminal justice and wildland firefighting.
Goering told the group that now is the time to start talking about expanding UNM’s Rio Rancho campus.
He said the university has 1,200 students there and would like to increase that to 2,500 by 2017.
The campus has one building, but he said the university is already discussing a second building it would consider when enrollment grows. UNM relies on community support and Rio Rancho taxpayers for its campus, and hopes the relationship continues, he said.
“We are in a position to do it right the first time,” he said. “Many universities have been there for hundreds of years and have to retrofit existing campuses to their needs.”
UNM offers several basic courses at its Rio Rancho location, including offerings in economics, science, math and engineering.