Since opening its new facility in January 2010 at Rio Rancho's new City Center, UNMWest has worked to create partnerships that will enhance educational opportunities for current and prospective students, as well as the greater RioRancho community. The 40,000 square foot building, located at 2600 College Blvd. NE, houses general purpose classrooms,a computer lab, a common area, quiet study space and office space, including meeting areas for community groups. Below is a detailed chronology of UNM's presence in Rio Rancho.
- 1990-1994: UNM Continuing Education offers non-credit computer classes and initial credit courses in Taylor Ranch and Rio Rancho.
- 1995-1999: UNM Continuing Education offerings move to 1,700 square feet facility in Rio Rancho while continuing to use APS classrooms. The Resource Group conducts survey regarding educational needs of West Side for TVI and UNM.
- 2000-2003: UNM Extended University, constituted in late 1999, provides vehicle for transition from mainly non-credit to primarily for-credit offerings.
- 2004 (Fall): Expanded credit offerings with videoconferencing. Rio Rancho operation moves to new facility in the Summit Building, located at 2600 The American Rd. SE in Rio Rancho (near Don Chalmers Ford) with dedicated classrooms and administrative office space while continuing to use APS classrooms. UNM task force develops Business Model for UNM presence on the West Side.
- 2005-2006: President Caldera and UNM staff meet with State Representatives Swisstack and Miera, and with Presidents of NMSU and NMHU regarding the results of the business model study and discuss benefits to West Side communities with the development of a major, full service campus in Rio Rancho. Research & Polling Surveys Conducted, including specific questions related to:
- College Interest
- Prospective Post-Secondary Students
- Public Opinion (community)
- Public Opinion (community leaders)
- 2006 (Summer-Fall): UNM secures 216 acres in Rio Rancho, with requests made to Representative Swisstack to introduce bill for construction of initial building. UNM West Charrette is conducted with UNM faculty, staff, consultants and visiting professionals and educators.
- 2007: House Bill 374 is passed, authorizing a Municipal Higher Education Facilities Gross Receipts Tax. Request for Proposals (RFP) is released for Master Planning efforts. President Schmidly and CNM agree to a 2+2 model, with UNM offering exclusively upper division and graduate courses and programs.
- 2008: March 4, 2008, Rio Rancho voters passed a higher education initiative that added a ¼of one percent gross receipts tax increase, by a 63 percent margin. With its passage, this initiative will generate funds to help the University of NewMexico with infrastructure and land improvements to build a University ofNew Mexico West campus in Rio Rancho's downtown City Center on 200 acres of land the university already owns.
- 2009-2010: Construction begins on the initial UNM West facility immediately adjacent to the new Rio Rancho Town Center, with the opening of the facility scheduled for January 2010. Estimates of possible future enrollment at this campus range from 9,000 to 14,000 students. UNM officially breaks ground in February 2009.