Santa Fe Higher Education Center Groundbreaking

New Mexico Highlands University School of Education interim dean Belinda Laumbach, left, joins New Mexico State Rep. Jim Trujillo and Santa Fe Higher Education Center director Tina Ludutsky-Taylor at the April 23 groundbreaking for the new HEC building.

Las Vegas, N.M. — New Mexico Highlands University representatives joined Santa Fe Higher Education Center officials for the April 23 groundbreaking for the HEC’s new building.

Highlands University was the first public university in New Mexico to sign the higher education partnership agreement with the HEC in 2010. Highlands has operated a Santa Fe site since 1996 through a partnership with Santa Fe Community College.

The new Santa Fe HEC building will be constructed on the northeast corner of Siringo Road and Yucca Street. It is slated to open fall semester 2014.

“The creation of the HEC has allowed us to expand the programs Highlands is able to offer onsite in Santa Fe,” said Jim Fries, Highlands University president. “We look forward to the new location and the ability to serve more students.”

Santa Fe Community College spearheaded the initial Higher Education Center initiative, as well as the one for the new building, and will operate the facility. It is being built through funding from a bond issue Santa Fe County voters approved in 2010.

Other universities in the HEC partnership include New Mexico State University, University of New Mexico, and Institute of American Indian Arts.

At the new Santa Fe HEC site, Highlands will continue to offer undergraduate degrees in education, social work, business and criminal justice. Graduate programs include education and an online MBA program.

An online RN-BSN program is also offered at Highlands Santa Fe for nurses who have earned an associate degree in nursing.

Belinda Laumbach, interim dean of the Highlands University School of Education, was at the groundbreaking for the HEC building.

“Highlands has always been a leading institution in teacher preparation, with an ongoing mission of training future teachers in proven best practices,” Laumbach said, “This new Higher Education Center building will provide a venue for expanding our School of Education in Santa Fe, and providing greater access to higher education opportunities for Santa Fe area students in a variety of disciplines.”

Thomasinia Ortiz-Gallegos directs Highlands Santa Fe, now located at Santa Community College at 6401 Richards Ave.

“It’s exciting for Highlands to be one of the key stakeholders at the new HEC building,” Ortiz-Gallegos said. “We’ll be more centrally located in Santa Fe and much closer to our current and prospective students, many of whom are nontraditional and work full-time. The new HEC location will make it possible for more students to achieve their academic goals at our university.”

Ortiz-Gallegos said that Highlands has an articulation agreement with Santa Fe Community College that makes it easy for students to transfer seamlessly to the university to complete their bachelor degree. For others, Highlands Santa Fe is a full-service center for students seeking to complete college degrees or pursue graduate school.

“Highlands Santa Fe students receive thorough academic advising that helps them complete their degree requirements,” Ortiz-Gallegos said.

She added that the latest technology tools that will be incorporated throughout the HEC, like wireless Internet service, will enhance the students’ educational experience.

For more information about the Highlands Santa Fe undergraduate and graduate degree offerings, visit