ENMU regents dealing with housing issues

Tony Parra: PNT Staff Writer

The Eastern New Mexico University Board of Regents on Wednesday gave a Texas firm the go-ahead on plans for a privatized housing project east of Eddy Hall.

The proposal calls for 96 units with 270 beds in four apartment complexes located behind Eddy Hall and extending east to South Avenue I.

Eastern New Mexico University Steven Gamble said replacing two of the school’s dorms would be more cost-effecient than trying to refurbish the aging buildings.
Rafael Figueroa, president of Collegiate Development Services of Irving, Texas, said his company would take an estimated bond issuance at $11.9 million, which would be paid out through 30 years with the money generated from renting out to students. The university itself is under no financial obligation in the matter.

The university would begin generating revenue from the buildings after the debt service is paid off, between 26 to 30 years. Figueroa projected construction of the buildings would take 12 months and could be ready as soon as spring of 2007.

Regents viewed a design of the project with a swimming pool in the middle of the new residence halls along with a volleyball court. There would be a community center and leasing offices next to the residence halls with 270 parking spaces.

The residential buildings have one-, two- and four-bedroom apartments which would be fully furnished. The one-bedroom apartment would tentatively cost $511 per month per bed, while the two-bedroom apartment would cost $451 per month per bed. The four-bedroom apartment would cost $351 per month, per bed.

The need for housing was demonstrated in the first week-and-a-half of ENMU classes. According to Gamble, for a while there was no water to the top two floors at Lincoln Hall because of a burned out pump.

“We can’t stabilize the air conditioning in 25 rooms in Lincoln Hall,” Gamble added. “The first three days there was no air conditioning in Lincoln Hall. We had elevator problems. We’re having expensive problems and we’re putting as much money as we can into the solutions.”

Gamble said many of these problems are due to the age of the buildings. Stephanie McClary, ENMU director of housing, confirmed that all of the current residence halls are more than 40 years old. Gary Musgrave, vice president for student affairs, said a possibility for Lincoln and Chavez Halls is that they would be torn down.

Gamble said $1.2 million would be needed just to fix the plumbing in Chavez Hall.

ENMU officials feel renovating Lincoln and Chavez Halls would make less sense than to construct new buildings.
Regents voted unanimously to allow ENMU officials to move forward with the project.

• Gamble said early estimates for fall enrollment are between 4,000 to 4,050.

• Gamble said today is the last day for college students who were victims of Hurricane Katrina to enroll at ENMU as transfers and pay in-state tuition. The university will provide students with a free meal plan if they reside in a campus residence hall.

According to data released by the State Higher Education Executives Organization, about 75,000 students in Louisiana and 15,000 students in Mississippi are unable to continue their higher education studies because of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Gamble said three people have contacted the university about the program, but nobody has enrolled as of noon on Wednesday.