The Wild History of Tierra Nueva/Southwestern Counseling Center
Back in the day, students saw clients in what is now the student lounge (previously Janet Schreiber’s) office, located now between the Student Lounge itself and the Spiritual Practices Room. That was the Counseling Center. Gotta start somewhere…
In 2002, we moved the Counseling Center to St. Michael Drive, its previous location before Tierra Nueva. We later doubled its size because of the increasing need for sliding-scale services in northern the New Mexico community.
Then came Ed.
One day in 2010, our next door neighbor Ed Nagel came to visit me in my office with something VERY like the following: “Jim, I want to sell you my land next door. We are both in the alternative education and I want to keep that going on that property. My price is $XXX, and I know the land is worth much more, but I want you to buy it. I don’t want any lawyers or realtors involved. I just want to sell it to you.”
I replied “Good to see you, too, Ed.”
Well, he was right—it was worth a lot more than the price. Fortuitously, the house on the property had burned down a couple years previously (I, Jim Nolan, actually watched it go up in flames…), which made the whole thing more affordable. So we bought it. Wow.
We had no strategic plan for it, because we never expected to have it.
Unrelated to the new property, one day I woke up and thought: “I can’t remember what we pay in rent for the Counseling Center, but I think it’s a lot.” I looked it up. It was a lot.
Katherine and I drove around town looking for a building to buy, but everything required too much work, too much soundproofing, too much something. Then the light bulb went on: “We have 4 1/2 acres to build on! Let’s do it!”
So we went back to the land. There were some sheds, a playground of sorts, and a lot of other stuff (including a guy living in the well, goats, and lord knows what else…) But it was all good, and we go the land in shape, knocked down the sheds, tore out old oil tanks and got the land cleaned of all toxicity, and so on.
So Gabe Browne designed us a building, and John Rehders built it.
Tierra Nueva Counseling Center is on its way…Grand Opening was on January 9th, 2016. We will soon be taking Medicaid, and eventually, other insurances. Boom. What a place….