Las Cruces, New Mexico

Las Cruces, New Mexico

Infobox Settlement
name = Las Cruces
settlement_type=Incorporated City
official_name = City of Las Cruces
settlement_type = City
nickname = The City of the Crosses

imagesize =
image_caption = Las Cruces from I-10



mapsize = 250px
map_caption = Location in the state of New Mexico

mapsize1 =
map_caption1 =
subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_type1 = State
subdivision_type2 = County
subdivision_name = United States
subdivision_name1 = flagicon|New MexicoNew Mexico
subdivision_name2 = Dona Ana
government_type = Council-Manager
leader_title = Mayor
leader_name = Ken Miyagishima
leader_title1 = City Manager
leader_name1 = Terrence Moore
established_title = Founded
established_date = 1849
established_title1 = Incorporated
established_date1 = 1907Rp|135
area_magnitude = 1 E9
area_total_km2 = 135.2
area_land_km2 = 134.9
area_water_km2 = 0.3
population_as_of = 2007
population_footnotes =cite web
title= Table 4: Annual Estimates of the Population for Incorporated Places in New Mexico, Listed Alphabetically: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2007 (SUB-EST2007-04-35)
accessdate= 2008-07-15
date= 2008-07-10
publisher= US Census Bureau, Population Division
] cite web
title= Table 1. Annual Estimates of the Population of Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2007
accessdate= 2008-07-15
date= 2008-03-27
publisher= US Census Bureau, Population Division
population_total = 74,267 census
(89,722 estimated)
population_metro = 198791 (MSA)
timezone = Mountain
utc_offset = -7
timezone_DST = DST
utc_offset_DST = -6
latd = 32 |latm = 19 |lats = 11 |latNS = N
longd = 106 |longm = 45 |longs = 55 |longEW = W
elevation_ft = 4000
area_total_sq_mi = 76.87
area_land_sq_mi = 76.77
area_water_sq_mi = 0.1
elevation_m = 1219
website =
postal_code_type =
postal_code =
area_code = 575
blank_name = FIPS code
blank_info = 35-39380
blank1_name = GNIS feature ID
blank1_info = 0899715
footnotes =

Las Cruces is the second most populous city in New Mexico, the county seat of Doña Ana County,GR|6 and a United States Metropolitan Statistical Area. The city is the the home of New Mexico State University and the centerClarifyme of an agricultural region in the Mesilla Valley irrigated by the Rio Grande


Early settlers

The area where Las Cruces rose was previously inhabited by the Manso people, with the Mescalero Apache living nearby. ] Rp|19 The area was colonized by Juan de Oñate beginning in 1598, and he became its first governor. Rp|20–21

Las Cruces was founded in 1849 when the US Army laid out the new town after the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo had ceded the land to the United States in 1848.Rp|36,40The settlement was created as an oveflow area from the colony of Doña Ana, located six miles north of the new settlement. Rp|36–37

Doña Ana was on the US side of the Rio Grande, and the nearby village of Mesilla had been founded in 1848 by settlers from Doña Ana who wished to stay in Mexican territory.Rp|44 In 1853, the Mesilla region was incorporated into the United States with the Gadsden Purchase. Rp|47

Pioneer days

Mesilla became the leading settlement of the area, with more than 2,000 residents in 1860, more than twice what Las Cruces had. Rp|48 When the Santa Fe Railroad reached the area , the landowners of Mesilla refused to sell it the rights-of-way, and instead residents of Las Cruces donated the rights-of-way and land for a depot in Las Cruces.Rp|58 The first train reached Las Cruces in 1881.Rp|62 Las Cruces was not affected as strongly by the train as some other villages, as it was not a terminus or a crossroads, but the population did grow to 2,300 in the 1880s. Rp|63

Pat Garrett is best known for his involvement in the Lincoln County War, but he also worked in Las Cruces on a famous case, the disappearance of Albert Jennings Fountain in 1896. Rp|68

Modern times

New Mexico State University was founded in 1888 as Las Cruces College, led by Hiram Hadley. Rp|76 It was established as the land grant college and experimental station by the State Legislature in 1889. Rp|76 Its name was changed to New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts in 1890 Rp|134 and to New Mexico State University in 1958. Rp|113,136

Elephant Butte Dam was constructed to provide irrigation water for the Mesilla Valley. The project was approved by the United States Secretary of the Interior in 1895, but the project was in the courts for many years due to a rival proposal to build a dam near El Paso. The dam was finally completed in 1916. Rp|90–93

During World War II, both German and Italian POWs worked at Las Cruces in the Emergency Farm Labor Program.Rp|103

Since World War II the growth of the nearby White Sands Missile Range has made the defense industry a key part of the local economy. Rp|111–112

In the 1960s Las Cruces undertook a large urban renewal project, intended to convert the old downtown into a modern city center. Rp|115 As part of this, St. Genevieve's Catholic Church, built in 1859, was torn down to make way for the Downtown Mall. Rp|44,75,115

In 1982, Las Cruces became the scene of the a new Roman Catholic Diocese, "Diocese of Las Cruces", which encompasses the southern half of the state and is a suffragan of Santa Fe.

Origin of name

The origin of the city's name is unknown. In Spanish "Las Cruces" means "the crosses". (Some have claimed an alternative meaning of "the crossroads" but this is grammatically implausible, as "cruce", the singular form of crossroad, is masculine and the phrase would be "Los Cruces".) Robert Julyan writes, [] Rp|198"Numerous stories attempt to explain why this city is named "the crosses." Some attribute the name to crosses marking the graves of unfortunates massacred by Apaches."

Crosses logo controversy

The city logo (official symbol) is a sunburst with three Latin crosses inside. A lawsuit was filed by Paul Weinbaum and Martin J. Boyd in September 2005 seeking the removal of the three crosses from the logo, claiming that their use violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment and that it expended public funds to promote religion. [cite news
first = Steve
last = Ramirez
title = Lawsuit seeks to remove crosses from city's logo
publisher = Las Cruces Sun-News
page = 1A
date = 2005-09-23
] The lawsuit was dismissed by a United States district court judge in New Mexico, [cite news
first = Jose L.
last = Medina
title = Cross lawsuit vs. city tossed
publisher = Las Cruces Sun-News
date = 2006-11-09
] [cite paper
last = Brack
first = Robert C.
title = Memorandum Opinion and Order, Weinbaum, et al v. Las Cruces, City of, et al, case number 05cv00996
publisher = United States District Court for the State of New Mexico
date = 2006-11-09
url =
format = PDF
accessdate = 2008-08-01
] and the plaintiffs appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. [cite news
first = Felisa
last = Cardona
title = Panel hears crosses appeal
publisher = Las Cruces Sun-News
date = 2007-10-01
] On September 12, 2008 the Court of Appeals upheld the lower court's decision. [cite paper
last = Ebel
first = David M.
title = Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico (D.C. Nos. 2:CIV-05-996-RB/LAM and 2:CIV-03-1043-RB/LAM)
publisher = United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
date = 2008-09-12
url =
format = PDF
accessdate = 2008-09-12
] [cite news
first = Jose L.
last = Medina
title = Appeal denied in crosses lawsuit
work = Las Cruces Sun-News
date = 2008-09-13

Geography and Climate

Las Cruces is located at coor dms|32|19|11|N|106|45|55|W| (32.319693, -106.765157)GR|1. Approximate elevation 4000 ft or 1219 m above sea level.According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 52.2 square miles (135.2 km²), of which, 52.1 square miles (134.9 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.3 km²) of it (0.25%) is water.

Dona Ana County lies within the Chihuahuan Desert ecoregion, and the vegetation surrounding the built portions of the city are typical of this arid natural setting; it includes Creosote Bush (Larrea tridentata), Soaptree (Yucca elata), Tarbush (Flourensia cernua), Broom Dalea (Psorothamnus scoparius), and various desert grasses such as Tobosa (Hilaria mutica) and Black Grama (Bouteloua eriopoda).

The Rio Grande dissects the Mesilla Valley and Las Cruces proper, supplying irrigation water for the intensive agriculture surrounding the city. Prior to farming and ranching, desert shrub vegetation extended into the valley from the adjacent deserts, including extensive stands of Tornillo (Prosopis pubescens) and Catclaw Acacia (Acacia greggii). Desert grasslands extend in large part between the edges of Las Cruces and the lower slopes of the nearby Organ and Robledo Mountains, where grasses and assorted shrubs and cacti dominate large areas of this mostly rangeland and occasional, large-lot subdivision housing.

The desert and desert grassland uplands surrounding both sides of the Mesilla Valley are often dissected with arroyos, which are dry streams that often carry water following heavy thunderstorms. These arroyos often contain scattered small trees, and they serve as wildlife corridors between Las Cruces' urban areas and adjacent deserts or mountains.


Unlike many cities its size, Las Cruces lacks a true central business district. This is due to the fact that in the 1960s a large urban renewal project tore down a large part of the original downtown. Most Las Crucens would agree that the modern "heart" of the city, where most stores and restaurants are located, is the rapidly developing eastside area running north and south along Telshor Boulevard and east and west along Lohman Avenue. Las Cruces' only shopping mall and a variety of retail stores and restaurants are located in this area. However, the historic downtown of the city is the area around Main Street, a six-block stretch of which was closed off in 1973 to form the "Downtown Mall", a pedestrianized shopping area. The downtown mall has a farmers market each Wednesday and Saturday morning, where a variety of foods and cultural items can be purchased from a few small stands that are set up by local farmers, artists, and craftspeople. It also contains some businesses, churches, art galleries and theaters, which add a great deal to the changing character of Las Cruces by continuing to exist in the historic downtown.

Plans to re-open the whole mall to vehicular traffic besides the completed one-block example have drawn criticism from people who feel the multi-million dollar project is too costly and from others who enjoy the aesthetics, usually quiet, and the ever inportant shade of the fully-covered area of the pedestrian mall. Nevertheless, the mall's north and south entrances have been torn down. Furthermore, in August 2005, a master plan was adopted, the centerpiece of which is the restoration of narrow lanes of two-way traffic on this model portion of Main Street.


Las Cruces is classified as an arid, subtropical climate, with evapotranspiration being over twice the average precipitation. Winters alternate between cool and windy weather following trough and frontal passages, with warm, sunny periods in between; light frosts occur many nights. Spring months are warm and can be windy, particularly in the afternoons, sometimes causing periods of blowing dust and short-lived dust storms. Summers begin with hot weather, with some extended periods of over 100F weather not uncommon, while the latter half of the summer seeing increased humidity and frequent afternoon thunderstorms, with slightly lower daytime temperatures. Autumns quickly cool into warm to mild weather, and precipitation decreases.

Precipitation is often light from fall to spring, with some winter storm systems bringing steady precipitation to the Las Cruces area. Most winter moisture is in the form of rain, though some light snow falls most winters, usually enough to accumulate and stay on the ground for a few hours, at most. Warm season precipitation is often from heavy showers, especially from the late summer monsoon weather pattern.

Other CDPs, etc., of the Las Cruces
Metropolitan Statistical Area
Anthony, New Mexico
Chaparral, New Mexico
Doña Ana, New Mexico
Hatch, New Mexico (village)
Mesquite, New Mexico
Mesilla, New Mexico (town)
Radium Springs, New Mexico
Rincon, New Mexico
Salem, New Mexico
Santa Teresa, New Mexico
Sunland Park, New Mexico (city)
University Park, New Mexico
Vado, New Mexico
White Sands, New Mexico


Census 2000 data

As of the censusGR|2 of 2000, there were 74,267 people, 29,184 households, and 18,123 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,425.7 people per square mile (550.5/km²). There were 31,682 housing units at an average density of 608.2/sq mi (234.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 69.01% White, 2.34% African American, 1.74% Native American, 1.16% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 21.59% from other races, and 4.10% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 51.73% of the population.

There were 29,184 households out of which 30.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.3% were married couples living together, 15.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.9% were non-families. 27.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.46 and the average family size was 3.05.

In the city the population was spread out with 25.1% under the age of 18, 16.0% from 18 to 24, 26.9% from 25 to 44, 19.0% from 45 to 64, and 13.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 94.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.0 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $30,375, and the median income for a family was $37,670. Males had a median income of $30,923 versus $21,759 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,704. About 17.2% of families and 23.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 30.7% of those under age 18 and 9.7% of those age 65 or over.

2007 estimates

Las Cruces's July 1, 2007 population was estimated at 89,722 by the United States Census Bureau's Population Estimates Program.


Movies and TV series shot in Las Cruces include:
* The 2 hour Pilot episode for the TV Series "Cannon" was shot in and around Las Cruces.
*In 1970 the movie "Up in the Cellar" was shot in and around Las Cruces and New Mexico State University. The film features scenes where buildings were destroyed and a radio station transmitter tower is destroyed. (This was actually part of an urban renewal project that removed a large part of "Old" Downtown Las Cruces.) The film stars Larry Hagman (Dallas).
* In the early 1960s a failed Pilot was shot for CBS in and around Las Cruces. The pilot starred Glenn Ford and Barbara Stanwick in a show about a county agent. The show was never aired.
*A scene for the movie Twins (film) was filmed at Las Cruces International Airport, where Arnold Schwarzenegger's character catches a flight to try and catch up to his twin brother, played by Danny DeVito.
*Several scenes from the movie Traffic (film) were filmed outside the Las Cruces International Airport.
* The 1984 movie "Raw Courage" (Ronny Cox, Art Hindle & M. Emmet Walsh) was filmed in and around Las Cruces.

Arts and culture

Annual cultural events

Most of Las Cruces's cultural events occur late in the year, a period known locally as FTFS (Full-Tilt Fiesta Season). []

The Border Book Festival occurs the last weekend in April. It features a trade show, readings, workshops, panels, lucha libre, and family storytelling. [] [] The festival was founded in 1994 by authors Denise Chávez and Susan Tweit, and Chávez is the Executive Director of the festival. [] The non-profit Border Book Festival, Inc. runs the festival and puts on other cultural events throughout the year. []

The Whole Enchilada Fiesta, held the last weekend in September, is southern New Mexico's most popular festival, with about 50,000 people attending each year. The centerpiece is the making of a large flat enchilada. The fiesta started in 1980 with a 6-foot diameter enchilada, and it has grown over the years. In 2000 the fiesta's 10-1/2 foot diameter enchilada was certified by Guinness World Records as the world's largest. After the enchilada is assembled it is cut into many pieces and served to the fiesta attendees. The enchilada is the brainchild of local restaurant owner Roberto V. Estrada, who directs its preparation each year. The celebration also features "The Whole Ensalada" (a 500-pound organic salad), a parade, live music, art and crafts, athletic events, a carnival, and a car and motorcycle show. [] [cite book |title=New Mexico Blue Book |url= |accessdate=2008-09-21 |edition= 2007–2008 edition |publisher=New Mexico Secretary of State |pages=344 |chapter=New Mexico Features: World's Largest Enchilada |chapterurl= ]

The Southern New Mexico State Fair is usually held only a few days after the end of the Whole Enchilada Fiesta. The Fair, held west of Las Cruces, is an annual affair that promotes traditional agriculture. Boasting one of the largest Junior Livestock Shows in the state, the fair invites youth from six counties in New Mexico and Texas to participate. The event is generally held the first week in October. However, the New Mexico State Fair dates will sometimes affect the dates, causing them to be moved forward or backward one week. [cite web |url= |title=Southern New Mexico State Fair |accessdate=2008-09-21 |publisher=Southern New Mexico State Fair and Rodeo ] In 2004 the Junior Livestock Auction set a State Fair record with $450,000 raised. []

The local Day of the Dead ("Día de los Muertos") is a celebration, originating in Mexico, of the lives of those now dead. It is presented each November 1–2 by the Calavera Coalition. Most of the activity is in the Plaza in Mesilla, but there is an altar constructed each year at the Branigan Cultural Center in downtown Las Cruces. The Mesilla celebration is the largest in southern New Mexico. []

The local Renaissance fair, the Renaissance ArtsFaire, founded in 1971, includes a juried art show and is put on the by the Doña Ana Arts Council each year in November. []

Museums and other points of interest

In Las Cruces

The New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum is a state museum that showcases the history of farming and ranching in New Mexico. It is located at 4100 Drippping Springs Road near New Mexico State University (University Avenue becomes Dripping Springs Road as it continues east). [cite web
title= About the Museum
accessdate= 2008-08-05
publisher= New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum

The University Museum at New Mexico State University focuses on archeological and ethnographic collections and also has some history and natural science collections. It is located in Kent Hall at the corner of University Avenue and Solano Drive. [cite web
title= About the New Mexico State University Museum
accessdate= 2008-08-05
publisher= New Mexico State University

There are four city-owned museums. In the Downtown Mall, the Branigan Cultural Center examines local history through photographs, sculpture, paintings, and poetry. The building formerly housed the Thomas Branigan Memorial Library and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The Las Cruces Museum of Art is next door and offers art exhibits and classes. Las Cruces Museum of Natural History is located in the Mesilla Valley Mall. It attempts to make science and natural history more accessible to the general public and has an emphasis on local animals and plants. It has a permanent exhibit of living Chihuahuan Desert animals and a space for traveling exhibits, and presents regular education programs. Las Cruces Railroad Museum is in a historic Santa Fe Railroad depot at 351 Mesilla Street. It exhibits the impact of the railroads on the local area. [cite web
title= Experience the City of Las Cruces Museums
accessdate= 2008-08-06
publisher= City of Las Cruces

The New Mexico Veterans Museum, a new state-owned museum, was announced in August 2008 and is planned to be constructed in Las Cruces. [cite news |first=Steve |last=Ramirez |title=New Mexico veterans museum will be built in Las Cruces |work=Las Cruces Sun-News |date=2008-08-22 ] [cite press release |title=Governor Bill Richardson Accepts Task Force Recommendation on Site of State Veterans Museum |publisher=State of New Mexico |date=2008-08-21 |url= |format=PDF |accessdate=2008-08-22 ]

The Las Cruces Symphony Orchestra is an 80-member orchestra. [] As of 2008 LCSO's conductor and music director is Dr. Lonnie Klein,] who is also a member of the Music Department faculty at New Mexico State University. [] He estimates that the orchestra consists of 47% students, 17% NMSU faculty, 20% other local musicians, and 16% professionals from outside Las Cruces.The usual venue of the orchestra is the NMSU Music Center Recital Hall.The world premiere of Bill McGlaughlin's "Remembering Icarus", a tribute to local radio pioneer Ralph Willis Goddard, was performed by the LCSO on October 1, 2005. [] The performance was taped and broadcast nationally on NPR's "Performance Today" on December 9, 2005 [] and on July 4, 2007 on "Performance Today" and on Sirius Satellite Radio. []


These points of interest are within a few miles of Las Cruces.

The town of Mesilla is a suburb of Las Cruces. It avoided the urban renewal that Las Cruces went through in the 1960s Rp|115 and still has its historic downtown plaza. The San Albino Church is on the plaza . The Gadsden Museum is dedicated to the family of Albert Jennings Fountain and includes artifacts from the time of the Gadsden Purchase, which made Mesilla a US possession. There are many shops and restaurants on or near the plaza. There is a Visitor Center inside the Town Hall. [cite web
title= ¡Viva Mesilla¡
accessdate= 2008-08-06
publisher= Old Mesilla Association
] The Shalam Colony & Oahspe Museum commemorates the utopian Shalam Colony that existed near Las Cruces from 1884 to 1907 and the that they used. [cite news |first=Cassie |last=McClure |title=Children's colony focus of museum |url= |work=The Round Up |date=2006-02-10 |id=ISSN|0744-5555 | accessdate=2008-08-23 ] []

The Space Murals Museum in Organ has scale models of the Space Shuttle and Space Station Freedom and some relics of the Space Age. [] []

Fort Selden State Monument is a former United States Army post, active from 1865 to 1891. Buffalo soldiers were stationed here. Douglas MacArthur lived here as a boy (his father was post commander). The fort is located in Radium Springs, New Mexico, 13 miles north of Las Cruces on Interstate 25. There is a visitor center. [cite web
title= Fort Selden State Monument
accessdate= 2008-08-06
publisher= New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs

White Sands Missile Range, about 20 miles east of Las Cruces on US Highway 70, offers tourists a museum and a missile park. There is a refurbished V-2 rocket on exhibit. [cite web
title= White Sands Missile Range Museum
accessdate= 2008-08-06
publisher= White Sands Missile Range Historical Foundation

Aguirre Spring Campground is a hiking area in the Organ Mountains. The entrance is on US Highway 70 on the east side of the mountains. Dripping Springs Natural Area is another hiking area, located farther south and on the west side of the mountains. Both areas are managed by the Bureau of Land Management.

References in popular culture

* In "The Killing Box", an episode of the television series "Prison Break", Michael Scofield and Lincoln Burrows find themselves recaptured at a Las Cruces Border Patrol holding facility.
* In "Las Cruces Jail", a song by "Two Gallants", the protagonist is awaiting his execution in this city's correctional facility. The duo performed at a coffeehouse several months before its release, possibly inspiring the title.
* In the first season of "Mc Cloud" Dennis Weaver claimed he grew up in Las Cruces and in an episode claimed he lived in Las Cruces and worked in Taos, New Mexico (an over 300 mile commute each way)
*In the Tom Clancy novel "The Teeth of the Tiger", several terrorists cross into the United States from Mexico near Las Cruces, using it as a staging point.
*Alternative Country band, Son Volt, mentions Las Cruces in their song "Highways and Cigarettes."
*San Antonian Doom Metal band " Las Cruces " derived their name from Las Cruces, NM


There are no professional sports teams in Las Cruces. New Mexico State Aggies, the New Mexico State University teams, compete in the Western Athletic Conference.

Parks and recreation

City of Las Cruces operates 87 city parks, 18 tennis courts, and 4 golf courses. Rp|41 A list of parks, with facilities and maps, is available. Rp|8cite web
title= Parks Locations
accessdate= 2008-07-24
publisher= City of Las Cruces

Las Cruces holds a Ciclovía, a city-wide event featuring exercise and physical activities, on the last Sunday of each month at Meerscheidt Recreation Center. [cite news
title = City encourages Las Crucens to get active
work = Las Cruces Sun-News
id = ISSN|1081-2172
date = 2008-03-27


The City Council consists of six City Councilors and one Mayor, who chairs the meetings. The Mayor is elected at-large and each of the City Councilors represents one neighborhood district within the City. Each resident of Las Cruces is thus represented by the Mayor and by one City Councilor. The Mayor and City Council serve staggered four-year terms. The Mayor is Ken Miyagishima. Councilors are: Miguel G. Silva, Dist. 1; Dolores Connor, Dist. 2; Dolores C. Archuleta, Mayor Pro Tem, Dist. 3; Nathan P. Small, Dist. 4; Gil Jones, Dist. 5; Sharon K. Thomas, Dist. 6. City Manager - Terrence Moore; Assistant City Manager - Robert Garza; Director of Communications - Udell Vigil; City Attorney - Fermin Rubio

City of Las Cruces Resources can be found online at the [ official city website] , with lots of useful information for residents, and for others looking to gain a greater insight as well. A very detailed reference guide (in English and Spanish) to all City services is available.cite paper
coauthors =
title = 2008 Reference Guide: Information on City of Las Cruces Departments and Services
publisher = City of Las Cruces Public Information Office
url =
format = PDF
accessdate = 2008-07-24

The Las Cruces City Council meets the 1st, 3rd and 4th Mondays of each month at 1:00 p.m. Video streaming of live and archive City Council meetings is at [] .


Public Schools

Public schools are in the Las Cruces Public School District. The District covers the city of Las Cruces as well as White Sands Missile Range, the settlement of Doña Ana, and the town of Mesilla. The system has 24 elementary schools, seven middle schools, and five high schools. Of the high schools, San Andres High School is an alternative high school, and Mesilla Valley Training Center is a vocational high school.cite web
title= Education
accessdate= 2008-08-05
publisher= Greater Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce

There are also three charter schools within the Las Cruces Public Schools. Alma d'arte is a high school with a focus on an integrated arts curriculum. Las Montañas is new charter high school that opened in Fall 2007 and caters to at-risk students. La Academia Dolores Huerta Middle School is the only recognized dual language program in the state. [cite news
first = Christopher
last = Schurtz
title = Charter schools post statewide growth
work = Las Cruces Sun-News
date = 2008-07-21
] [cite news
first = Jason
last = Gibbs
title = School board OKs new at-risk charter school
work = Las Cruces Sun-News
date = 2006-10-17

Private Schools

There are three private Christian schools. College Heights Kindergarten is a private Christian kindergarten, founded in 1954. [cite news
first = Argen
last = Duncan
title = Local earns award after lifetime of contributions
work = Las Cruces Sun-News
date = 2005-07-19

A secular non-profit private school, Las Cruces Academy, aimed at gifted and academically advanced students, was scheduled to open in August 2008 with plans initially to enroll grades K–3, with plans to eventually cover K–12. [cite web
title= Las Cruces Academy
accessdate= 2008-08-05
publisher= Las Cruces Academy
] [cite web
title= Meeting Minutes 03-14-2008
accessdate= 2008-08-05
publisher= High Tech Consortium
] However, it did not open as scheduled.Fact|date=September 2008

Colleges & Universities


New Mexico State University, or NMSU, is a land-grant university that has its main campus in Las Cruces, New Mexico. The school was founded in 1888 as Las Cruces College, an agricultural college, and in 1889 the school became New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts. It received its present name, New Mexico State University in 1960. NMSU has approximately 30,000 students enrolled as of Fall 2008, and has a faculty-to-student ratio of about 1 to 19. NMSU offers a wide range of programs and awards associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees through its main campus and four community colleges. For 10 consecutive years, NMSU has been rated as one of America's 100 Best College Buys for offering "the very highest quality education at the lowest cost" by Institutional Research & Evaluation Inc., an independent research and consulting organization for higher education. NMSU is one of only two land-grant institutions classified as Hispanic-serving by the federal government. The university is home to New Mexico's NASA Space Grant Program and is one of 52 institutions in the United States to be designated a Space Grant College. During its most recent review by NASA, NMSU was one of only 12 space grant programs in the country to receive an excellent rating.

*New Mexico State University (external link: [ New Mexico State University Home Page] )


Dona Ana Community College is a branch of New Mexico State University. When it opened its doors 28 years ago, it served 200 students through six programs. Today, over 4,000 students are enrolled in the 25 programs offered in Business and Information Technology, Health and Public Services and Technical Studies. General education courses are also provided.

In addition, ten thousand residents are served in noncredit classes through the Academy for Learning in Retirement, Community Education and Customized Training.

Along with DACC's main location at 3400 S. Espina St., satellite locations serve outlying areas of the county at White Sands Missile Range, Sunland Park, Anthony and Las Cruces' East Mesa.
* [ Dona Ana Community College ]


Thomas Branigan Memorial Library, located downtown at 200 E. Picacho, is the city's public library. It was constructed in 1979cite book
last= Harris
first= Linda G.
title= One Book at a Time: The History of the Library in New Mexico
origyear= 1998
publisher= New Mexico Library Foundation
location= Albuquerque, NM
isbn= 9781887045032
oclc= 38324662
] Rp|93and has a collection of more than 200,000 items. [cite web
title= Library History
accessdate= 2008-05-21
publisher= City of Las Cruces
] The previous library building, also called Thomas Branigan Memorial Library, was located at 106 W. Hadley (now 501 N. Main Street) and opened in 1935. Rp|68-69 That building is now the Branigan Cultural Center. Rp|8 and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The two university libraries at the New Mexico State University campus, Branson Library and Zuhl Library, are open to the public. Any New Mexico resident can check out items from these libraries.cite web
title= Frequently Asked Questions about the NMSU Library
accessdate= 2008-05-21
publisher= New Mexico State University


Las Cruces Sun-News is a daily newspaper published in Las Cruces by MediaNews Group. Las Cruces Bulletin is a weekly community newspaper published in Las Cruces by FIG Publications, LLC. It is tabloid size and covers local news, business, arts, sports, and homes. "The Round Up" is the student newspaper at New Mexico State University. It is tabloid size and published twice weekly. "The Ink" is a monthly tabloid published in Las Cruces, covering the arts and community events in southern New Mexico and west Texas.

Las Cruces has one television station, the PBS outlet KRWG-TV, operated by New Mexico State University. The Telemundo outlet KTDO-TV is licensed in Las Cruces but serves El Paso. The city also receives several Albuquerque, El Paso, and Ciudad Juárez stations. Las Cruces is in Nielsen Media Research's El Paso/Las Cruces television media market.

There are approximately ten commercial radio stations in the Las Cruces area, running a variety of formats. Four of these stations are owned by Bravo Mic Communications, LLC, a Las Cruces company. The local NPR outlet is KRWG-FM, operated by New Mexico State University. NMSU also operates a college radio station, KRUX. KRUC is a Spanish-language station in Las Cruces. Many El Paso stations are received in Las Cruces. See list of radio stations in New Mexico for a complete list of stations. Las Cruces is in Arbitron's Las Cruces media market.




* Las Cruces International Airport - No current regularly-scheduled commercial passenger flights since July 25, 2005, when Westward Airways ceased operations. General aviation, private charters and CAP use the airport, amongst others.
* El Paso International Airport - Nearest airport with regularly-scheduled commercial flights.

Major highways

* Interstate 10, east-west travel: south-southeast to El Paso, Texas; west to Tucson, Arizona.
* Interstate 25, north-south travel: north to Albuquerque. Las Cruces is the southern terminus for Interstate 25 where it intersects Interstate 10.
* U.S. Route 70, east-west travel: northeast to Alamogordo; to the west it is merged with Interstate 10.
* U.S. Route 180
* NM 28
* NM 101
* NM 185
* NM 188
* NM 292
* NM 320
* NM 373
* NM 478


Las Cruces is served by the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, via a branch line that extends from Belen, New Mexico to El Paso, Texas. Passenger service on this line was discontinued in 1968, due to low ridership numbers on the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway's (predecessor to the BNSF) "El Pasoan" train.


The city operates a small transit authority known as RoadRUNNER Transit. RoadRUNNER Transit operates a total of nine routes running Mondays through Saturdays. There is no Sunday service. An adult fare is $0.50. The active fleet consists of three Nova Bus RTS (2000 model year) and eight Gillig Advantage (2004 model year) transit buses, all of which are 35 feet in length and wheelchair-accessible. RoadRUNNER Transit also operates a backup fleet of non-accessible buses consisting of three Orion I (1986 model year, 30 feet) and two TMC RTS (1989 model year, 35 feet) buses.


City of Las Cruces provides water, sewer, natural gas, and solid waste services, including recycling centers. Rp|34 El Paso Electric Company is the electricity provider, Qwest is the telephone land line provider, and Comcast is the cable TV provider.


Las Cruces Hospitals

Memorial Medical Center is a for-profit general hospital operated by LifePoint Hospitals Inc.. The physical plant is owned by the City of Las Cruces and the County of Doña Ana, who signed a 40-year, $150 million lease in 2004 with Province HealthCare, since absorbed into LifePoint. [cite news
first = Christopher
last = Schurtz
title = MMC holding annual open meeting
work = Las Cruces Sun-News
date = 2005-06-12
page = 1C
] [cite news
first = Steve
last = Ramirez
title = Province merger a done deal
work = Las Cruces Sun-News
date = 2006-04-16
page = 1A
] Prior to 2004 it was leased to and operated by the nonprofit Memorial Medical Center Inc. [cite news
first = Christopher
last = Schurtz
title = Hospital deal with MMCI to end
work = Las Cruces Sun-News
date = 2004-05-13
page = 1A
] [cite news
first = Christopher
last = Schurtz
title = County, city end MMCI lease
work = Las Cruces Sun-News
date = 2004-05-14
page = 1A
] The hospital is a licensed 286-bed acute care facility and is accredited by JCAHO. It offers a wide range of patient services. [cite news
first = Steve
last = Ramirez
title = Hospital's ER set to get bigger
work = Las Cruces Sun-News
date = 2005-06-16
page = 1A
] The University of New Mexico Cancer Center-South opened in 2006 on the MMC campus. It is 5300 square feet and has 9 exam rooms. [cite news
title = Cancer center opens in Las Cruces
work = Las Cruces Sun-News
date = 2006-12-04

The original facility was called Memorial General Hospital and was opened in April 1950 at South Alameda Boulevard and Main Street after the city obtained a $250,000 federal grant. In 1971 the city and county joined to build a new hospital on South Telshor Boulevard. In 1990 it was renamed Memorial Medical Center. [cite conference
first = Martha
last = Dooley
year = 1999
title = Healthy Growth: Memorial Medical Center has grown to keep up with Las Cruces' population and technological advances
booktitle = Celebrating 150 years of Las Cruces history
publisher = Las Cruces Sun-News
location = Las Cruces, New Mexico
pages = 129
oclc = 50154273

MountainView Regional Medical Center is a for-profit general hospital operated by Community Health Systems (formerly Triad Hospitals). It opened for business in August 2002. It is a 168-bed facility with a wide range of patient services. [cite news
first = Christopher
last = Schurtz
title = Hospitals cooperating, but poised to begin competing
work = Las Cruces Sun-News
date = 2005-02-08
page = 1A

Mesilla Valley Hospital is a 125-bed private psychiatric hospital operated by Psychiatric Solutions. It is a residential facility offering a variety of treatments for behavioral health issues. [cite web
title= Mesilla Valley Hospital
accessdate= 2008-08-07
publisher= Psychiatric Solutions, Inc.

Rehabilitation Hospital of Southern New Mexico is a 40-bed rehabilitative care hospital, operated by Ernest Health Inc.. It opened January 2005. It treats patients after they have been cared for at general hospitals for injuries or strokes. [cite news
first = Brook
last = Stockberger
title = Profile: Profile: Rehab facility manager likes making a difference
work = Las Cruces Sun-News
date = 2008-02-15

Advanced Care Hospital of Southern New Mexico is a 20-bed long-term acute care facility operated by Ernest Health Inc.. It opened in July 2007. [cite news
first = Brook
last = Stockberger
title = Profile: Quillen helps bring health care to East Mesa
work = Las Cruces Sun-News
date = 2008-08-01

Notable natives and residents

* Billy the Kid resided in Las Cruces during some of his short life.
* Frank Borman, the famous astronaut, lived in Las Cruces after retirement. He bought a car dealership that still bears his name.
* Author Denise Chávez was born in Las Cruces.
* Albert Fall, a famous New Mexico Senator during the early 20th Century, lived in Las Cruces.
* Col. Albert Jennings Fountain, prominent politician whose disappearance was a celebrated case investigated by Pat Garrett.
* Pat Garrett, who is most famous for killing Billy the Kid, lived in Las Cruces.
* Charley Johnson played quarterback at New Mexico State. He later played a 15 year career for several NFL teams. He is currently leading the Chemical Engineering department at New Mexico State.
* Margaret Larkin (1889–1967), writer and union activist, born in Las Cruces.
* Tony Award winning writer Mark Medoff resides in Las Cruces. Medoff is most famous for writing the play Children of a Lesser God, which became a hit movie.
*Playwright and director Tom Smith (playwright) resides in Las Cruces, teaching at New Mexico State University.
* Clyde Tombaugh, who discovered Pluto, lived in Las Cruces until his death in 1997.
* Fredd Young, who was a four time pro-bowl football player for Seattle Seahawks and the Indianapolis Colts, played for New Mexico State and currently lives in Las Cruces.

ister cities

Las Cruces has two sister cities, as designated by [ Sister Cities International, Inc. (SCI)] :
* Lerdo, Mexico
* Nienburg, Germany

*flagicon|China Shijiazhuang,Hebei,China - Las Cruces is in the process of becoming a sister city to build upon educational exchanges already in place.


External links

* [ Las Cruces Convention & Visitors Bureau]

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