We'll have flying cars before UNLV builds second campus

Talk about your long-range projects.

Nevada members of Congress have reintroduced a bill to give UNLV more than 2,000 acres of federal land in North Las Vegas for a second campus.

A couple of years ago, this seemed like a great next step for the university, which was rapidly outgrowing its Maryland Parkway campus. But the double whammy of the deep national recession and Nevada’s dire budget woes render this neat idea little more than a dream.

Still, setting aside the land is prudent planning. UNLV is basically landlocked on Maryland Parkway and eventually will need to expand.

Besides, the legislation addresses two other land issues that also are worth planning ahead for:

• It would add 40 acres at Durango Drive and Elkhorn Road in northwest Las Vegas for a  College of Southern Nevada campus. CSN is growing despite the global economic problems, and it will need a northwest campus before long.

• It would dedicate 280 acres in the Pahrump Valley for a new and greatly expanded Great Basin College branch. Great Basin has a promising future in southern Nye County, and its current facilties are woefully insufficient.

“This legislation will give our colleges and universities the land they need to build new, world-class education facilities,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., who co-sponsored the bill.

Yeah, someday — maybe in 10 years. Today, UNLV, CSN and Great Basin are looking at double-digit budget cuts and all the subsequent side effects. Unless state lawmakers do something miraculous — miraculous for them, at least — a dark ages for Nevada higher ed is imminent.