Eastern New Mexico University faculty and students poured onto the empty lawn Friday afternoon where Lincoln Hall once stood for the groundbreaking of the new freshman dormitory.
One of the features of the event was the unveiling of the new dorm’s name, which honor New Mexico counties.
Guadalupe was chosen over De Baca, Chaves and Sandoval and in a vote by students.
“Each of those counties has been great to ENMU,” university President Steven Gamble told the audience. “And the naming of this dorm is just another way of thanking them.”
Construction on the new dorm will begin next week with a completion date of October 2012, with student residents moving in January 2013.
ENMU Regent Chad Lydick told the audience updating the school’s infrastructure is important.
“Today, I think we’ve noticed a change in our students than when we were in school,” Lydick said. “They’re more sophisticated. I think this is the first of many things that will give students the better accommodations they need.”
The new dorm will consist of 308 beds with four-person suites.
Lincoln Hall had 375 beds when it was opened in 1965, but the dorm has been closed more than four years. Demolition began in June.
Along with the demolition and replacing of Lincoln Hall, two other campus dorms are being prepped for demolition: Chaves and De Baca, which have both been closed for a number of years.
The cost of the dormitory demolition and the new building is $15.6 million.
Two 1961 graduates of ENMU, who were attending the groundbreaking as well as a 50-year class reunion, reminisced about some of the memories they shared from living in Chaves Hall.
“The thing that I thought made Eastern great at that time, a lot of people who lived in the dorms would go over to the Campus Union Building and there was a jukebox there and we would dance,” said Lynn Medlin, a native and current resident of Tatum. “That’s probably the biggest memory I have of dorm nightlife.”
Ed Hall of Mukwonago, Wis., laughed as Medlin told the story of their house parents’ 6-year-old son being afraid of one of the student’s glass eye.
“I carry something with me from Chaves all the time; it’s a scar on my right shoulder” Hall said. “The windows opened out at that time. I walked around the corner and ran right into it.”
Alan Kinlund, ENMU’s student body president, also spoke at the groundbreaking.
“Many students from here have wonderful memories from Chaves and Lincoln halls,” Kinlund said. “We hope to have even more memories build with Guadalupe Hall.”