ENMU regents discuss construction

By Helena Rodriguez: PNT Staff Writer

For Eastern New Mexico University students, faculty and administration, the fall semester ended Friday. For construction contractors, the holiday break is time to get busy.

Construction was a focal topic during Friday’s ENMU Board of Regents meeting. In addition to updates on current and upcoming renovation projects, many of which will be completed during the Christmas break, regents discussed the construction’s economic impact as well as the effect of building work at Cannon Air Force Base on available contractors.

With all of the past and current construction and maintenance projects, ENMU President Steven Gamble had good and bad news to report from the Commission on Higher Education.

“The good news is that they didn’t find another four-year institution in the state that is as well maintained as ours,” Gamble said. “The bad news, however, is that when you do a good job, you end up getting the short end of the stick. We undoubtedly will get less money than other institutions this next year.”

Scott Smart, vice president of Business Affairs, gave a construction update. He reported:

—When students return for the spring session, a new on-campus convenience store and restaurant in the basement of the Campus Union Building will be open.

—By spring, CUB Ballroom renovation and piping and heating/cooling projects in Lea Hall and other buildings are expected to be complete.

—Removal of asbestos from the science building is almost complete and remodeling work will begin there. State approval is needed because projected costs have increased about 10 percent.

In light of all of the construction work going on, Board of Regents President Jay Gurley requested the board be provided with a list of contractors and also asked for any information on the economic impact of such construction work on campus.

“We would like to have this to show to our Chamber of Commerce and others to show the importance of the university (on the economy),” Gurley said.

Regent Pauline Ponce brought up the idea of placing bulletin boards on construction sites to let people know what is being done, similar to something done at the ENMU-Roswell campus.

“This will help us with the next GO (General Obligation) Bond because people can see what kind of benefits they are getting from it,” Ponce said. “We will be touting our own story about the good things we do.”

In addition, Regents were told of campus dining hall renovations expected in the summer.

Gurley also expressed concern over how the renovations will effect the summer camps that come to ENMU, such as the Boys’ State program.

Smart explained a temporary dining facility would be set up in the upstairs ballroom. In response, Gurley requested parents of all students coming to ENMU in the summer be informed of the construction.