PAÍS officially opens with virtual ribbon-cutting ceremony
Posted: October 27, 2020
It’s called PAÍS, a Spanish name meaning country or nation. It is a reflection of The University of New Mexico’s commitment to share research and space while recognizing UNM as a Carnegie I research and Hispanic-serving institution (HSI). It’s also UNM’s newest building thanks to the support of voters in the state of New Mexico as well as a host of others who played a part from the initial idea to the groundbreaking and eventual completion last fall.
A formal ceremony to open the Physics & Astronomy and Interdisciplinary Science building, or PAÍS, was scheduled for this past spring, but the COVID-19 pandemic put those plans on ice. Instead, a VIP virtual ribbon-cutting ceremony & tour was held Thursday, Oct. 1 to signal the official opening.
“The opening of our newest building on campus could not have come at a more vital time in our nation’s history, as we grapple with the need to produce clear and accurate science to address the very real needs of our communities,” said UNM President Garnett S. Stokes. “This cannot be done without major collaborative efforts, which is exactly what PAÍS is intended for. The University of New Mexico is designated as a Carnegie R1 research university, and PAÍS will position us to not only produce a greater impact on our academic and research mission but also to provide a broader educational experience for our students.”
One of the most important benefits of the new facility will be its impact on UNM’s student population. For many, the benefits to students are what make a project of this magnitude worthwhile. PAÍS gives undergraduate and graduate students new classrooms and state-of-the-art laboratories in which to learn.
It began as a simple idea, a dream to revolutionize the way research is conducted at UNM: build a facility to house classrooms, offices, and laboratory space for scientists from across campus, and not just from a single department. UNM officials broke ground in March 2018 on the state-of-the-art, 137,000-square-foot facility located at the southeast corner of Yale Mall where an old, dormant water reservoir for the City of Albuquerque once stood for decades. PAÍS is not only the realization of this dream but also the largest investment in science in the state of New Mexico’s history, thanks to a GO bond passed by its residents in 2016.
"The University of New Mexico is designated as a Carnegie R1 research university, and PAÍS will position us to not only produce a greater impact on our academic and research mission but also to provide a broader educational experience for our students.” - UNM President Garnett S. Stokes
As its name implies, the building was designed to support and promote interdisciplinary collaboration and instruction involving many departments across campus in addition to the Physics & Astronomy portion. PAÍS not only changes the face of the UNM campus while providing cutting-edge facilities across the University, but it will also impact the way students and faculty work to solve problems.
“For the Department of Physics & Astronomy, PAÍS provides state-of-the-art facilities that allow it to stay on the international forefront of research — something that was becoming a daunting challenge in their old building,” said Stokes. “This department is on its way toward a bigger, brighter future with a greatly enhanced, worldwide visibility.”
Link to PAÍS Virtual Ribbon Cutting Ceremony:https://youtu.be/EZGpsDy2gb0