BIA Puts $10 Million Into New SIPI Building

Feb 15th, 2001 | By | Category: 12-3: How to Build a Dream, Tribal College News

The Bureau of Indian Affairs has earmarked $10 million in this year’s federal budget to construct a new Advanced Technical Education Applications Building (ATE) at the Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute (SIPI), according to the Department of Interior’s Assistant-Secretary of Indian Affairs, Kevin Gover.

Gover attended the SIPI student assembly in October where he announced that BIA’s Facilities Management and Construction Center had decided to build the science building on the 165-acre campus in Albuquerque, N.M.

When it is completed in September 2002, the 59,000 square-foot building will accommodate college science instruction and labs for such courses as chemistry, biology, and physics. Robotics, semiconductor and environmental labs; various computer technology labs, and a distance learning center are planned for the facility, which will also include a 500-seat auditorium. The BIA has contracted with Holleyman & Associates of Oklahoma City to design the building.

Earlier this year, SIPI received a 10-year accreditation as a National Indian Community College. However the accrediting agency, North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, cited the need for a new science building. Currently, SIPI science labs are taught in two portable buildings.

Recalling a decade of efforts to get funding, SIPI President Dr. Carolyn Elgin cited “a partnership of federal, state, tribal, industrial and foundation supporters.” SIPI has agreements with local secondary schools, regional higher educational institutions (University of New Mexico, New Mexico Highlands University, New Mexico State University), Sandia National Lab, and other science centers that help the college to offer a math, science, engineering, and technology program. Many courses transfer to four-year institutions while others prepare students to enter the 21st century workforce.

As a college operated by the BIA, SIPI is an associate member of American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC). It was designated a land grant institution in 1994. SIPI is tuition-exempt to eligible American Indians and Alaska Natives and also provides students with room, board, and textbooks. The SIPI student body is 100 percent Native American representing over 100 tribes from across the country.

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