Western New Mexico University Leading Project, Invested in Land for New Site
Silver City, NM – The Mimbres Valley Learning Center is slated to get a new location on the west side of Deming to be more accessible to the Deming high school and the local hospital. The new site will allow better access to advance higher education opportunities for the region's population. At the beginning of 2020, Western New Mexico University purchased 40 acres on West Florida Avenue for the purpose of building a new learning center focused on health care and sustainability to provide Deming students of all ages broader opportunities. The campus will set a new standard in the southwest for how sustainability and education can work together to create unique indoor and outdoor learning experiences for students, faculty and the surrounding community.
Western New Mexico University, which has an extended university in the existing Mimbres Valley Learning Center, is leading the project design and implementation. "The idea of advancing higher education within the region belongs to the leadership of Senator John Arthur Smith and former Representative Dona Irwin and present representative Candie Sweetser," said Dr. Joseph Shepard, President of Western New Mexico University. "Their leadership has advocated strong and better educational opportunities throughout the area as a means of economic development and keeping young people here."
This last state legislative session funded an additional $2.5 million to develop the infrastructure of the 40-acre property. This is in addition to the previously received $1 million to purchase the parcel and design the layout. Sam Sterling Architecture of Albuquerque was selected to lead the design efforts.
"Our area needs to continue to attract and keep businesses here. Of great importance is making sure that we have a strong health care system," said Senator John Arthur Smith, whose district includes Deming. "The current Mimbres Valley Learning Center has served its purpose, but we need to plan for the future, and to do that we need a new learning center that will meet the expanded needs of health care and promote collaboration with our school district and community."
The campus and Phase 1 education building will reflect local culture, history and landscape while looking to the future of education and sustainability. Possible programs at the new Mimbres Valley Learning Center will include health services, criminal justice, social work, applied technology, and an expansion of the Western New Mexico University Language Institute as well as the university's Western Institute of Lifelong Learning. It is estimated that between 500 and 1,000 students will attend the campus with the potential for a greater population of learners at the strategically located learning center. Design of the site has begun with infrastructure construction planned to begin in late 2020.
For more than 125 years, Western New Mexico University has served the people in its region as a comprehensive, rural, public body. As a Hispanic-Serving Institution and the state's only public Applied Liberal Arts and Sciences university, WNMU is committed to developing cross-cultural opportunities that encourage people to explore new experiences. The WNMU student body represents every segment of southwest New Mexico's diverse population.