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University seeks feedback, collaboration

© Western New Mexico University

At a recent public meeting held on the WNMU campus, university President Dr. Joseph Shepard along with the university’s architect and members of the WNMU physical plant, presented the first draft of the university’s five-year master plan, providing an opportunity for public comment. During the two-hour discussion, members of the public were presented with the university’s plan for future and more immediate growth and development that included an overview of both the Silver City and Deming locations.

“Not thinking about and considering the future eliminates opportunities,” said university President Shepard, when discussing the important role the master plan plays in the university’s future strategic plans to handle student services, enrollment and academic programs growth, and community engagement.

 Included in the draft plan are new construction projects that incorporate the Deming Learning Center, which broke ground last month, a new vocational training center to be in the mining district of Bayard and the New Mexico Center of Excellence for Early Childhood Education facility. Deferred maintenance plans for existing buildings and infrastructure and the university’s continuing effort toward carbon neutrality have also been integrated into the draft five-year plan.

When asked to provide a list of the university’s top priorities, President Shepard provided short and long-term infrastructure priorities that include:

  • Assuring smooth flow of traffic.
  • Campus safety for employees, students and community members.
  • Creating pedestrian safe areas.
  • Housing expansion to handle continued growth.
  • Outdoor learning spaces.
  • Carbon neutrality.

“Though a partnership with PNM, 75% of campus’ current energy is being supplied from renewable sources, an important effort toward our good stewardship of the environment and our connection to the Gila region,” said President Shepard.

As WNMU continues to experience increases in enrollment in the fall and spring semesters, with the student population growing by 12% and 17%, respectively, the five-year master plan provides a roadmap for academic program development, the ability to address student service needs and for the community at-large to be informed on the direction the university is going. “Although we are not required to seek public input, we believe in remaining good collaborative neighbors as a matter of principle,” said President Shepard.

There is still an opportunity for the public to view the draft master plan presentation and provide input here.

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