RATON, N.M. (KAMR/KCIT) — Officials from the office of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced Friday, that $1.1 million will be donated in capital outlay to help a new studio, film and media school in Raton.

According to a release from the office of Lujan Grisham, the city of Raton along with El Raton Media Works a nonprofit organization aims to renovate the old Kearny Elementary School. Officials said the mission is to transform the elementary school into a Kearny Film Studio and Education Center.

Officials state that the center is set to open in the summer of 2023 with its first training course, followed by a professional soundstage and XR studio that is scheduled to open in the Winter of 2025.

“I commend Raton leadership for their vision for this center, which will provide training to New Mexicans in this successful and innovative industry, as well as additional capacity for filmmaking in northern New Mexico,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham. “That means more high-paying jobs, more economic development and more money spent in the community of Raton.”

“Raton is reinventing itself as a hub for the film and industry, and projects like these will propel us into the future,” said Raton Mayor Neil Segotta Jr. “And this is just the tip of the iceberg. I’m grateful to Gov. Lujan Grisham for her continued support to our community.”

According to the release, the City of Raton and El Raton Media Works plans to partner with Santa Fe Community College to teach film/media curriculum.   

Officials said Lujan Grisham aims to expand economic opportunities to the rural regions in New Mexico and invest in workforce training so New Mexico residents can pursue opportunities closer to home.

The film and television industry broke records according to FY2022 with $50 million in spending in rural communities like Raton. The industry will also bring jobs at an average salary of $70,000 per year for film workers according to the release.

“We are very excited to be working with the City of Raton to open this XR soundstage and media training facility and hope to bring economic and workforce development to this Northern New Mexico region,” said Ann Theis, Film Liaison for the City of Raton.”This industry doesn’t just bring in one type of job, it brings in every type of job from restaurants to lodging, craftsman culinary arts and more. We hope to bring those skills and jobs to Raton and the surrounding area.”   

For more information on the new film studio in Raton, visit here.