ENMU gets $5.4 million from state

By William P. Thompson: Freedom Newspapers

Gov. Bill Richardson vetoed about $1.3 million in state Legislature-approved capital outlay money for Eastern New Mexico University, but ENMU President Steven Gamble said he is happy with the $5.4 million the university will receive.

“We’re fine. We’re in good shape,” Gamble said. “We understand the governor has to veto some capital outlay money. Other universities were hit with the same kind of vetoes we were hit with.”

In Senate Bill 415, Richardson vetoed $100,000 in capital outlay for the university’s television station, KENW. That money would have gone toward the station’s conversion to digital technology. All is not lost, however, as Richardson allowed $1.1 million for the station’s conversion to digital technology.

“Senator Stuart Ingle took the lead in working with other legislators to obtain this money for the television station,” Gamble said. “The money we lost in Senate Bill 415 is more than made up for by the money we received in House Bill 622. The digital conversion will cost about $3 million, so we are hoping to get more money from the federal government. The federal government has money for projects like this.”

Gamble said the federal government is requiring all public television stations to convert to digital technolgy.

Also on the technology front, Gamble said he was pleased the governor gave $1.5 million of his own capital outlay for a new science building on the ENMU campus, and he said although much was vetoed in Senate Bill 415, the university will get $102,00 for math and science.

“That money will go for strengthening our instruction in math and science,” Gamble said. “We also received $77,000 for our ‘Success Program,’ which is designed to retain and graduate more students.”

As of presstime Wednesday, Ingle said he had not seen all the specific line items kept in the Senate and House bills for ENMU, but he was aware of the $1.1 million for the KENW digital conversion.

“There are staffers going through it (the House and Senate bills) right now breaking it all down,” Ingle said. “They should have something put together sometime (today). I’m happy for ENMU. We were able to get some dollars for the new science building, and we got some money for maintenance. I had wanted some money for paving the parking lot around Greyhound Arena, but I found out that was vetoed. There are so many things I still have to see yet.”