The search for a new graduate and research campus location to serve the future higher education needs of the citizens of Southern Nevada began in 2000. The project was coordinated with the cities in the Las Vegas Valley, Clark County, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Nellis Air Force Base. These efforts culminated in the selection of approximately 2,000 acres of open desert land in the city of North Las Vegas running north from Clark County Route 215 about three miles between Lamb Boulevard and Pecos Road to the base of the Sheep Mountains.
The campus location has many advantages:
- It is a blank slate of desert land that will be master planned to meet Southern Nevada's higher education needs.
- There will be excellent transportation access to Clark County Road 215, I-15 and a regional multimodal transportation hub planned at the intersection of Clark County Road 215 and Pecos Road.
- Inclusion of the campus in the city of North Las Vegas' master plan and specifically creation of a future University District offers enormous opportunities for public and private development.
Early in the site selection process there was some concern because the property is a former U.S. Department of Defense site known as the Former Nellis Small Arms Range. That range was used primarily during World War II to train aircraft gunnery crews.
Fortunately, thanks to the diligence of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the environmental cleanup requirements and costs have been assessed and included as an active remediation project under the Defense Environmental Restoration Program. According to the conveyance legislation the environmental cleanup must be completed to the satisfaction of the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection prior to acceptance by the NSHE for UNLV.
Economic challenges of 2010 have slowed the required comprehensive master planning and development of the new campus infrastructure and first building. Nevertheless, UNLV continues to plan for the future and is hopeful that economic recovery will enable the university to move forward according to the following milestones.