What is consolidating
Brooks said there was an offer accepted briefly on the property south of Rawson Avenue, but it has since been listed for sale again.Since its initial listing, South Milwaukee has been working “to be proactive in determining and bringing to life the next generation of that campus,” Brooks said.
But like university governance, she said there is “no one answer.”The study began last summer as part of a larger master-planning process Damron’s department had begun in 2016 and in response to growing statewide interest in possible consolidation. Its recommendations would filter to the other subcommittees to study the financial implications and possible legal or constitutional amendments necessary to accommodate them.Some of that activity includes planning for either a single user or mixed multi-use and bringing interested parties to the table.Additionally, Brooks said the city has “put themselves in play” for a possible state office building on the campus.“(But) I do not feel keeping our 21 governing boards is the way to go.I feel it needs further study.”The committee looked at every other state’s higher education structure and did not identify a perfect solution for New Mexico – at least not anything that would save money, Damron said.It also dismissed a pair of two-board models; one model featured a board for all four-year institutions and another board for the two-year schools; the other model would create a University of New Mexico-headed system with all the state’s northern schools, and a southern system headed by New Mexico State University.
But Damron said grouping institutions with such different missions made those less attractive.
It could also promote consistency amid changing governors, Shepard said.
New Mexico previously had a higher education commission, but the Legislature in 2005 voted to replace it with a cabinet department.
More than half of the 19 governance subcommittee members came from the institutions themselves, including several presidents; Central New Mexico Community College President Kathie Winograd served as co-chair with Shepard.
Among the others were Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Terri Cole; Department of Workforce Solutions Secretary Celina Bussey; and New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee Director David Abbey.
All would still maintain at least a local advisory board, but Damron said she thinks efficiencies are possible and is already in conversations with many institutions.“I don’t see one board for universities doing much for us here in our state,” she said.