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Governor and UNM officials break ground on new nursing and public health building

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Gino Gutierrez
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KSFR News
This $43.3 million project with centralize classes and rooms for the nursing and public health programs

This $43.3 million project will consolidate teaching spaces spread across seven different buildings, making school days easier for both students and faculty.

UNM president Garnett Stokes said this new building will help address the statewide shortage of nurses.

“It’s no secret that there is a statewide shortage of nurses and advanced practice nurses and that this will impact the occupation here in New Mexico and health equity in our state for us to pursue this facility.”

UNM’s nursing program ranks 43rd out of nearly 700 schools according to U.S. News & World Reports 2022 edition of Best Colleges and is the largest nursing program in the state. Enrollment in the program has grown by 70% in the last five years according to Stokes.

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Gino Gutierrez
/
KSFR News
UNM president Garnett Stokes talks about the importance of this building to New Mexico's public health community

“We know that if we want to meet the education and training needs of nursing students and educators, as well as the demands of the community across our state who need our great nurses, we must continue to grow our program and grow the facilities that support them,” Stokes said.

This building was made possible through $32.2 million in state funding, including $30 million in General Obligation bonds and $2.5 million in General Funds.

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Gino Gutierrez
/
KSFR News
Officials break ground on the nursing building

In addition to this, Governor Lujan Grisham also announced $15 million towards a “nurse expansion” fund, which is being provided through the American Rescue Plan.

It will be used a variety of purposes, including adding slots for pre-licensure nursing students, developing tutoring to help student pass the licensure exam, recruitment of high school students, retaining nursing faculty and the expansion of clinical sites to rural community and providing stipends for student working in those communities.

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Gino Gutierrez
/
KSFR News
Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham spoke on the importance of supporting the next generation of nursing students

“They want to know that this is a priority. That their passion for this vocation is going to be supported by a state that needs them, respects them and really honors their commitment to doing even more for the healthcare issues of every single New Mexico family, it is indeed an incredible day,” Lujan Grisham said.

Gino Gutierrez was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. A lifelong resident of New Mexico, Gino found interest in broadcasting after falling in love with sports and sports broadcasting. He attended the University of New Mexico, where he majored in mass media journalism. While at UNM, he worked the New Mexico Daily Lobo, serving as both sports and managing editor. He can also be heard providing play-by-play commentary for the Lobo Hockey Network.