Regents pleased with year so far

By Tony Parra

Eastern New Mexico University president Steven Gamble reported a good fall semester for the university with enrollment up, the passing of General Obligation Bond and the success in athletics.
“It has really been a great year,” ENMU Board of Regents President Marshall Stinnett said during Friday’s board meeting. “We were able to get $7 million for the new science building. We have the inside track to (give) Ruidoso branch-campus status.”
ENMU representatives saw enrollment numbers increase from to 3,959, the highest it has been since 1993 when there were 3,973. New Mexico voters in November approved the addition of property taxes to fund higher education projects totaling $94 million in bonds.
The bond helped bring approximately $9 million of the $94 million to ENMU-Portales. The biggest project for ENMU will be a new science building. ENMU Vice President of Business Affairs Scott Smart discussed different ideas for areas to place the new science building on Friday. Some of the options which were discussed were to the west of current science building towards the natatorium and another option is building the addition south of the old science building towards Roosevelt Hall.
ENMU president Steven Gamble said ENMU officials have already started spending some of the bond money on technology upgrades on campus.
ENMU officials are also in the process of turning the Ruidoso instructional center into branch-campus status, which would allow Ruidoso instructional center officials to apply for more funding and expand in the classes the center offers.
Ruidoso Instructional Center Director James Miller said the necessary paperwork has been sent in to the Commission on Higher Education and they are waiting on approval. Miller will be retiring and Gamble announced his successor, Mike Elrod.
Elrod is currently the director of the Dona Ana Community College, a branch of New Mexico State University, in Las Cruces. Miller has been director for 13 years.
Regents also approved the issuance of up to $10 million in bonds to be used for the repair and renovation of variety of auxiliary facilities on the ENMU-Portales campus. Projects such as remodeling the Campus Union building, remodeling West Campus Apartments and the construction of one athletic facility which would house the Zia soccer and Zia softball teams and another facility which would house the Greyhound soccer and baseball teams.
Two other projects are the installation of a sprinkler system in Lincoln and Bernalillo Halls and the installation of new elevators in Lincoln Hall.
The required level of annual debt service on previous bonds (from 1985, 1993 and 1998) will decline from $1.3 million to slightly more than $500,000 for the 2005-06 year. The $800,000 difference will be used to repay the new bond, which will be the auxiliary bond used to renovate the campus.
The auxiliary bond is composed of revenue generated by ENMU from student fees, tuition, and food service to name a few, according to Smart. Gamble said approximately 40 percent of the auxiliary bond is from student fees.