Catholic Center upgrades facility

Tony Parra

There will be a new University Catholic Center for Eastern New Mexico University students on the western horizon and members of the St. Helen’s Church are excited about the possibilities.
“We (St. Helens Church officials) feel the old building is inadequate,” Father Tobin Hitt of the St. Helen’s Church said. “We want to build a bigger and better facility for the (ENMU) students. It’s going to be closer to the church. We need to have a building which is more up to date with today’s technology.”
Hitt said the center’s main purpose is to serve as a classroom for ENMU students. Hitt said he teaches class twice a week in the UCC.
“The facility is used for teaching,” Hitt said. “As part of an accredited class, we are required to provide a facility. We are totally committed to providing service.”
Hitt said the old UCC has been on sale for a couple of months. The old UCC is located on W. 14th Lane, across the street from the science building on the east side of campus. He said if the building is sold, a facility next to the St. Helen’s Church might be used in the meantime.
The proposed site of the new UCC is on the north side of St. Helen’s Church, located across from the KENW broadcast center next to the west side of the ENMU campus.
“It’ll be really good for us,” said Shannon Fresquez, an ENMU student who is Catholic. “It’s going to be in a better location. He’s (Hitt) always trying to help people.”
There are six religious organizations on campus, according to the ENMU Web site (http://www.enmu.edu). The Baptist Student Union Center is located across from the Golden Library and the Church of Christ Student Center is across from De Baca Hall.
Hitt said between 150 to 200 ENMU students attend St. Helen’s Church for Sunday evening mass. Hitt said ground has not been broken on the new University Catholic Center project.
“I don’t like to talk about it (new construction) because we still have construction going on the St. Helen’s Church,” Hitt said. “We have to take care of that of first before we start on a new building. It’s (UCC) a major undertaking.”