How We’re Upgrading the CNM Air Filtration System to Meet Hospital-Level Standards

Two new technologies are being used to keep students, staff, and faculty safe
April 07, 2021

Right now, the air inside CNM buildings is cleaner than it’s ever been thanks to thousands of upgraded filters that were installed over the past year. But the college isn’t done. To ensure students, staff, and faculty have the safest environment possible as we come back to campus, CNM is now going through another update that will raise the air quality standards to what you’d find in a hospital setting.

Two new technologies are being used in conjunction to create what’s called a “Catch, Hold, and Kill” system. One is a UV light air sanitation system that can kill viruses and bacteria that pass through the UV lights. The other is a Bi-polar Ionization filter system that can deactivate harmful substances such as bacteria and viruses and/or enlarge them so they are easier to catch in the media filter.

“This level of filtration was unheard of at a college a year ago, but we want to use every tool we have to create a safe campus,” says Pete Mora, CNM’s Director of Maintenance & Operations.

These new systems will roll out this summer in high-traffic areas across campuses and the project will be complete by the end of the year. In the meantime, new filters in the existing system will be installed in May and other safety precautions will continue to be used as more students and employees return.

Right now, all campuses are set up to create social distancing, both in classrooms and offices. Plexiglass shields are used in any area where a staff member needs to interact with a student. All high-touch areas are disinfected multiple times per-day, and a thorough cleaning happens every night. 

If CNM receives a report that someone with COVID-19 was on campus, or someone who was exposed to a COVID-19 case was on campus, maintenance staff immediately use special fogging machines to disinfect all and any areas those people might have touched or used.

Outside, the grounds crew regularly uses tape to ensure proper social distancing around benches and tables. They’ve also been tasked with regularly disinfecting those same benches and tables as well as all the campus trash cans.

“We are looking for anything that can be contaminated and ensuring all those items are regularly and frequently cleaned,” Pete says.

During the upcoming Summer Term, Pete says CNM made the decision to disinfect every single classroom after every use. That means that some classrooms will be wiped down multiple times each day—a precaution that will be used in subsequent terms, too. All these extra precautions have added extra work for the maintenance and grounds staff, but Pete says everyone has been happy to step up and help.

“CNM is a community, and we want to do everything we can to get that community back on campus,” he says.