ENMU natatorium renovation costs surpass regent-approved funding

PNT Staff Report

Eastern New Mexico University Regents learned Monday that the cost of renovating the natatorium will likely cost more than what was OK’d at an October regents meeting.

Meeting in a special session with the natatorium as the only business item on the agenda, regents gave the OK for the administration to request $2 million from the Higher Education Department instead of the $1.5 million request approved in early October.

“The tremendously escalating cost of construction made us go back in and look at that request,” ENMU President Steven Gamble said.

Gamble said the scope of work itself is also just going to take more money than originally thought.

“If you’re familiar with that building, if you go in there and look up you can actually see sky through that roof,” Gamble said.

Gamble said the university has also taken a hard look at the amount of construction going on around the campus and decided to wait until sometime in the spring semester to start the project. He said the pool closure planned for the fall semester had been rescinded.

Scott Smart, vice president for Business Affairs at ENMU told regents last month that inadequate heating and cooling installed when the facility was built in 1958 has resulted in chlorine from the pool evaporating and causing rust and corrosion problems in various parts of the facility.

He said the 12,123-square-foot facility will require a new roof, windows, pool decking, HVAC upgrade and renovation of the locker room and shower facilities.

Smart said the university is also hoping to add an enclosed patio for sunbathers.

Gamble said with HED approval the next step would be for the university to solicit bids for the work.