Senate Bill 161 would build CNM Space School

ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) — As the space industry takes off in New Mexico, a lawmaker wants to start a space school and is seeking state and federal help to get it off the ground. Central New Mexico Community College is leading efforts for a $60 million Space Valley Center on campus. “New Mexico is perfectly positioned to do that. I mean with the spaceport that we already have here and then all the science labs and Kirtland which is definitely in space,” Senator Martin Hickey said.

Senator Hickey sponsors Senate Bill 161 which is requesting $6 million from the federal government’s Build Back Better grant, to be allocated to the Department of Higher Education. The money would be part of the $60 million plan to design, build and equip facilities for a Space Valley Center at CNM. The vision is to create conference spaces and breakout rooms where all the different parts of the space industry can come together in one place.

Senator Hickey says this project is not just for CNM, but for the entire state of New Mexico. “It’s a seed of investment. You plant that, you probably get a billion, two or three billion dollars in spinoffs coming to New Mexico. How many jobs does this create? Well, at least 1,000 in the beginning and more than that as we continue to be the center,” Senator Hickey said.

He will introduce the bill to the Legislative Assembly next week. There must be a 20% consideration for the $60 million project. Senator Hickey is asking lawmakers for $6 million, and the CNM would be responsible for providing the remaining $6 million.

Norman D. Briggs