University of New Mexico Turns to Bonds to Fund Campus IT Projects

The University of New Mexico knows that IT modernization doesn’t come cheap, so it has set its sights on selling bonds as a means to fund campus projects.

On the Nov. 3 General Election ballot, New Mexicans will have the opportunity to vote for the General Obligation (GO) Bond C, which would provide more than $155 million in higher education funding, including $51.4 million for the University of New Mexico.

If the bond measure passes, the University of New Mexico would fund a wide range of investments, impacting both its main and branch campuses.

Among the projects, the university would invest in campus-wide infrastructure upgrades and classroom overhauls to modernize working spaces.  Under that broader umbrella, several investment areas are on tap.

Academic and Research Infrastructure Upgrades

The University of New Mexico would invest $13.2 million across several projects. The projects would include Learning Environment and Technology Support; Research Infrastructure Upgrades; Campus Fiber Renewal; and Edge Switch Equipment Refresh.

“These projects will renew and upgrade critical campus-wide academic and research infrastructure on UNM’s main campus,” the university said in a statement. “These campus-wide infrastructure projects were developed due to the critical need for long-term neglected facility and infrastructure renewal and improvements.”

University CIO Duane Arruti stressed the importance of investing in these projects. “Part of Bond C is really dealing with the academic and research infrastructure,” said Arruti. “These are really important initiatives to help to ensure that we have the underlying infrastructure to really help support our campus community.”

Learning Environment and Technology Support Project

This $3.2 million project would focus on renovating “high priority classrooms” and addressing Wi-Fi upgrades and expansion to address the need for continuous, high-speed wireless coverage across the university’s main campus. “The project takes a multi-faceted approach that focuses on upgrading more than 1,500 existing wireless access points that allow strong connections to each corner of campus,” the University of New Mexico said in a release. “This Wi-Fi improvement will also add robust Wi-Fi coverage to 20 existing learning spaces that have limited coverage.”

Campus Fiber Renewal Project

With $2.5 million in funding, university IT staff will remove and replace aged inter-building optical fiber in two of the five zones on the school’s main campus. The work includes redesigning and reducing the zone hub equipment rooms to allow for more efficient operations.

Edge Switch Equipment Refresh Project

The university will spend $3.5 million to update network equipment that facilitates network connectivity within buildings. Approximately 800 to 1,000 edge switches supporting the main campus are seven years beyond their useful life and will be replaced with this project, the University of New Mexico said.

Kate Polit
About Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs