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University of New Mexico plans new purpose for biology annex

December 29, 2017

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The University of New Mexico is planning to transform a vacant biology building into an interdisciplinary teaching and learning center for sciences and the museum studies program.

The university previously planned to use the 8,000-square-foot (743-square-meter) annex building as art studio space for graduate students, the Albuquerque Journal reported .

The board of regents had approved that plan, but it was later scrapped after finding it too costly.

A task force convened to find possible uses for the building, and the idea emerged to convert it into an interdisciplinary center.

Under the new plan, the building will feature labs, teaching spaces and display and storage areas to house the university’s vast fossil collection. It will also be used by the Museum of Southwestern Biology.

The university’s Earth and planetary sciences department has thousands of fossils, but it does not have the space to properly store them, said Jason Moore, an assistant professor.

Fossils kept in poor conditions can turn to dust and some have begun disintegrating, said Cori Myers, an assistant professor. She estimated that at least 25,000 fossils are stored in the basement of Northrop Hall.

“To have the opportunity to turn this facility into a showcase and a teaching space and a laboratory preparation space for these extraordinary collections is a tremendous gift,” said Mark Peceny, dean of Arts and Sciences.

Regents have approved the new recommendation, but the board still must reallocate funding and approve a design.

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Information from: Albuquerque Journal, http://www.abqjournal.com

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