CNM to Break Ground on New State-of-the-Art Trades Facility June 29

The 60,000 square-foot facility will house classrooms and labs preparing students to fill high-demand trades careers ranging from Welding to Mechatronics
June 22, 2023

Central New Mexico Community College, which has been delivering a pipeline of skilled trades workers for the region’s employers since opening in 1965, will break ground on a new state-of-the-art Skilled Trades Facility on Main Campus on June 29. The new 60,000-square-foot facility represents a strong public investment in CNM’s critical role for producing the skilled trades workforce of the future for New Mexico’s economy.

Elected officials, trades industry representatives, community leaders, CNM representatives, and trades students will be
on hand to celebrate the groundbreaking of the facility, where the next generations of students will be trained and connected to the high-quality, high-demand careers that are critical for economic development in the years ahead.

CNM President Tracy Hartzler will deliver remarks, as well as CNM Electrical Trades graduate Rita Johnson and a professional electrician who worked on prepping the site for construction. A time capsule that was buried on Main Campus in 1999 will also be opened during the ceremony.

The groundbreaking ceremony will begin at 8 a.m. on Main Campus at 961 Buena Vista Dr. SE, just east of CNM’s Education Collaborative Building. CNM’s current skilled trades facility on Main Campus, Ted Chavez Hall, was built in the 1970s and is well past its life cycle.

“The plans for this new Skilled Trades Facility represent CNM’s steadfast and continuing commitment to the trades, which have been rooted in our mission since the college opened in 1965,” said CNM President Tracy Hartzler. “The planning for this facility has been a truly collaborative effort, with local trades industry representatives providing input during the planning phase. And we’ve received tremendous support from voters, our community, and our state in funding this anchor facility for trades education and training. CNM looks forward to delivering on the public’s investment in us to generate the high-caliber trades workforce required for our state’s economic prosperity in the years ahead.”

Rendering of new Skilled Trades Facility

The new, $58.7 million Skilled Trades Facility will provide much more flexibility in adapting spaces as technology continues to quickly evolve in skilled trades. When CNM needs to create a new program to meet new workforce needs – or when the College needs to adjust current programs to incorporate new technology or meet changing industry needs – the spaces will allow for much easier modification. The modernized and high-tech learning environments will also be a key component in attracting more students into skilled trades programs, where they’ll be connected with high-demand careers that are crucial for economic development and improving the state’s infrastructure.

According to a recent study by the Associated Builders and Contractors, the construction industry needs to attract an estimated 546,000 additional workers on top of the normal pace of hiring in 2023 to meet the demand for labor. The demand is only expected to continue increasing in the years ahead as more long-time trades workers retire.

CNM’s new facility is expected to be completed in early 2025. Altogether it will provide 60,750 square feet of classroom and lab space and will house CNM’s Carpentry, Electrical, Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC), Plumbing, Industrial Automation Technology (Mechatronics), and Welding programs.

The new facility will be made up of two buildings that are modular so that labs can be expanded or contracted to respond to changing needs for instruction, technology, and program modifications.

Once completed, the facility will help thousands of students gain the necessary skills to gain high-quality employment in New Mexico.

CNM also plans to partner with schools and businesses to offer broader education opportunities. There will be partnerships designed to create an inclusive pathway for K-12 students through dual-credit opportunities, apprenticeships, and internships, and community partners will be able to use the facility to help their employees upskill so that they can meet evolving industry needs.

More broadly, the facility will help CNM break down the silos of traditional trades education, focusing on a more collaborative and cross-skill approach that truly represents a diverse and connected workforce.

“We’re excited about the ways this new facility will help students and adult learners access an entrepreneurial pathway that leverages critical thinking and business-skill training. We’re going to help reframe the trades path as a lucrative and life-long learning pathway with a core skills-based foundation,” CNM President Tracy Hartzler said.

The entire project is expected to cost just over $58.7 million. Funding has come from voter-approved bonds, as well as funding from the State General Fund approved by the New Mexico Legislature. CNM will be seeking voter approval of $3 million in additional funding through a CNM Bond Election in November in order to cover increased project costs due to inflation.

Designed by Vigil and Associates, an architecture firm in Albuquerque, and Architekton, an architecture firm in Phoenix, the facility is being built by Franken Construction in Albuquerque.