Regents rehire Gamble

By Karl Terry, PNT Managing Editor

Steven Gamble will remain at the helm at Eastern New Mexico University for the next three years.

At its regular meeting Saturday in Portales ENMU’s Board of Regents OK’d a contract with the institute’s president, renewable for each year for three years. It begins July 1 with the start of the 2008-2009 school year.

In addition, the contract calls for a 3 percent raise, in line with other higher education salaries in the state. Gamble’s salary will be $185,400 for that year.

Gamble said he was pleased to be continuing at ENMU and looks forward to working faculty, staff and regents.

“Working with the faculty, staff and students here is a real pleasure,” Gamble said. “They treat me far better than I deserve.”

Gamble began his tenure at ENMU in 2001 and is completing his seventh year at the university.

Regent President Alva Carter said he feels Gamble does a super job for the university and cited recent successful accreditation evaluations as proof of that job.

“I think he does real well with leadership,” Carter said. “He’s conservative but at the same time he has a lot of foresight.”

Carter said he feels that Gamble is deeply concerned with getting the most for education from every dollar spent at the university.

Regents got a report from Michael Sitton, dean of the College of Fine Arts, on the impending reconstruction of the Music Building.

He said bids for the building will be sought in July with asbestos abatement starting in August and construction beginning in September. Completion is targeted for fall of 2009.

The facility will completely remodel the building including Buchanan Hall where changes will improve handicap access, enlarge the stage and include a few more seats in the balcony.

The biggest change is an additional band room outside the footprint of the existing building that will provide 5,000 to 6,000 square feet of space for a cramped band program, said Sitton. The old band room will be remodeled to accomodate a rapidly growing chorale program at the university.

The facility, which is estimated to cost $8.5 million is financed primarily through state General Obligation bonds.

With the building falling under enhanced energy and environmental standards called Leeds certification, board member Chad Lydick, who is an engineer, questioned whether the funding would be sufficient.

“What we’ve been seeing on these Leeds projects is the bids are coming in well over estimates,” Lydick said. “Do we have some wiggle room?”

Gamble indicated that he believed they had left themselves a 10 to 12 percent cushion. Sitton added that there are also a variety of options where adjustments can be made if necessary.

“We really don’t know what else we can do, other than hire a good architect we have faith in to bring us in under budget,” Gamble said.

In other business regents:

• Approved a 3 percent increase in student housing room rates at San Juan Village.

• Approved a pre-nursing certificate at the Ruidoso campus.

• Approved new course and lab fees schedule at Ruidoso.

• Approved five-year capital project plans at both Ruidoso and Roswell campuses.

• Approved a new operating agreement with the Community College Board in Roswell for the campus there.