Regents OK film major

By Tony Parra: PNT Staff Writer

It’s lights, camera, action in Portales, now that Eastern New Mexico University Regents approved a new film major, which will have 33 core classes, to its curriculum.

During Saturday’s meeting regents approved a film degree program that students can enroll in this fall.

Robert Vartabedian, ENMU vice president for academic affairs, said the new major in digital cinema arts will be taught by current faculty members and there will be no new additional staff members hired.

“We’ve been working on this proposal for three years,” Vartabedian said about faculty members. “Faculty saw a need. There is student interest and there are grants available along with the governor’s film initiative. We have received inquiries (from those interested in taking the course). Faculty members felt so strongly that they volunteered their services.”

Some of the classes required will be beginning television production, workshop in playwriting and the motion picture (an English course).

City councilors, during a February city meeting approved a resolution in support of the Yam Movie Palace Consortium and the Eastern New Mexico Regional Film Initiative. Greg Erf, Portales MainStreet member and professor of art at Eastern New Mexico University, said the project is in line with Gov. Bill Richardson’s film initiative. At that time, Erf said a new film degree for ENMU was in the works and the consortium (ENMU, Portales MainStreet, city of Portales and KENW-TV) is wanting to have film technology in the Yam Movie Palace for students and independent filmmakers.

Regents approved a five-year capital projects plan to renovate several ENMU buildings. Among those buildings are the music, technology, natatorium, university theater, computer center and college of business buildings, along with the De Baca Residence Hall.

Steven Gamble, ENMU president, said New Mexico Higher Education Department members want New Mexico universities to prioritize projects up to five years in advance.

The Technology Building renovation is the most expensive, with an estimated cost of $11.8 million to renovate.

Construction workers will break ground in the fall on an $11.9-million housing development, which will provide an additional 270 beds in four apartment complexes located behind Eddy Hall and extending east to South Avenue I.

Scott Smart, vice president of business affairs, said there are plans to demolish Chavez Hall at an estimated demolition cost of $250,000. A name for the new apartment complexes has yet to be determined.

They will also start work on the science building addition and renovations. Voters approved a general obligation bond in 2004 earmarking $7 million for the science building.