New communications building partially open

By Tony Parra

Tuesday was the first day for classes at Eastern New Mexico University and university students used the day to break in the new state-of-the-art communications building.

Scott Smart, vice president for business affairs at ENMU, updated the ENMU Regents on the construction projects taking place or scheduled for the 2006 year during Wednesday’s ENMU Board of Regents meeting in Santa Fe.

“We’re excited about our projects and it’s definitely exciting to have the new communications building open on Tuesday,” Smart said.

The 34,000 square-foot building is being used for communications classes. Previously communications classes were being held in the KENW Broadcast Center, Jack Williamson Liberal Arts and College of Business buildings.

There will be three studios in the new building — one for instructional use for students, the second studio for use of the KENW students to broadcast news and a third studio for general production. KENW staff members will gradually move into the new building.

Smart has been busy with several other construction projects which are either under way or will begin in 2006.
University administrators want to go out for bid in the late summer and start construction, shortly after, on an addition and renovation to the Science Building. Roosevelt County voters approved Bond Question B in 2004 which earmarked $7 million for the addition and renovations.

Smart said the Higher Education Department officials approved operating and construction documents for a privatized housing project for the university, last week. Smart said the next step is to have the New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration and New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority members approve the project.

“This project will go before the state board of finance on Feb. 21 for their approval,” Smart said. “We’re hoping that is all we need to do after that (as far as state approvals). No other university in New Mexico has had a privatized housing project.”

Smart said he is hopeful for a start on the privatized housing project in July or August which will take 10-11 months to complete and could be ready as soon as the fall semester of 2007.

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

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 would begin generating revenue from the buildings after the debt service is paid off, between 26 to 30 years. Rent for students would cost between $351 to $451 per month with utilities paid.

l Regents approved a course fee request for students taking Computer Information Systems courses. The $10 course fee will be for each of the 20 CIS courses. According to the request, the course fees will generate approximately $3,250 per semester.

The coursework needs to be updated to current applications.

“In these courses we have to be able to upgrade software,” Gamble said.

• ENMU Regent Jay Gurley was elected president of the board while Alva Carter was elected vice president. ENMU Student Regent Diego Espinoza was chosen to be the secretary/treasurer for the board.