Writer: Justin Bannister, 575-646-5981, firstname.lastname@example.org
New Mexico State University's Arrowhead Business and Research Park can now tout $5 million worth of public and private investment in construction and infrastructure. Work began earlier this year to transform the research park, located between Interstates 10 and 25, from barren desert into a hub for companies looking to partner with NMSU.
"It's exciting to identify companies that have a synergy with NMSU and a desire to work with students and faculty," said Pam Wood, project manager for NMSU's Arrowhead Center. "This project offers lots of opportunities for students."
The first building, now under construction, is approximately 15,000 square feet and represents a private-sector investment of approximately $3 million. It is expected to be complete in February 2009.
"It's possible that we could have that building fully occupied by the time it is done," Wood said. "One company alone that we are talking to would bring 40 jobs by next February. These are high paying jobs and they would have opportunities for NMSU graduates too."
Wood is speaking with government agencies as well as private contractors about moving into the research park. Once a building in the development is 60 percent occupied, work will begin on the next. The first 11 acres of land at the 257-acre research park will have up to seven buildings and 120,000 square feet of office and laboratory space.
Arrowhead Development Company LLC, a separate and private company, is developing the research park. While it has a similar name, it is not related to NMSU's Arrowhead Center that oversees the research park.
In addition to building construction, road work will soon begin on a mile-long extension of Payne Street to Sam Steel Way through the research park. Once complete, the new connection will better link the park to the rest of campus with two lanes for traffic, a bike path and utilities. This development represents nearly $2 million in investment with money coming from the state of New Mexico, local road funds, the New Mexico Department of Transportation, NMSU funds and a grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration.
"This road will allow development for the entire rest of the park," said Vickie Galindo, director of Arrowhead Center's workforce development unit. "It took a lot of people to put this project together. That degree of cooperation is very important. We would not have been able to make this happen without the EDA and help from New Mexico Secretary of Economic Development Fred Mondragon."
The Payne Street extension should take between 12 and 18 months to complete. It will help improve existing traffic patterns through the university and can be used by people who will eventually work at the park. The road will be built so that it can easily expand to four lanes in the future.
Other plans for the research park include working with the Las Cruces Public School District to construct an early college high school where high school students could take college-level courses for credit. Once fully developed, the entire research park could contain as much as 2.5 million square feet of office and lab space where 5,000 to 6,000 people would work.
This represents the first activity at the research park since construction of the General Dynamics Spaceplex in 2001. General Dynamics relocated to the park from the Genesis Center small business incubator space on campus. For years, General Dynamics had been the only tenant at NMSU's research park.
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