Home News Local News ENMU-R lauds budget allocations, considers future project

ENMU-R lauds budget allocations, considers future project

The Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell board will decide at a future meeting whether to build a new building to replace the Quonset huts used for physical plant and facilities maintenance. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

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Even though the legislative session providing 2018-2019 funding just ended Feb. 15, Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell leaders are not letting any grass grow under their feet as they plan for the future.

“I think all of Eastern New Mexico University did very well,” said Dr. Jeff Elwell, left, president of Eastern New Mexico University, about the state appropriations and allocations approved by the New Mexico Legislature and Gov. Susana Martinez. Dr. Ken Maguire, acting president of ENMU-R, is seen at right during the Wednesday afternoon meeting of the ENMU-R Branch Community College Board of Directors. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

Board members and senior administrators meeting Wednesday afternoon on the ENMU-R campus made some preliminary discussions about requesting 2020 general obligation bond monies to replace the five Quonset huts built more than 50 years ago that now house the physical plant and facilities maintenance staff and operations. That action, if approved by ENMU boards, will still require several layers of state and voter approval.

When discussing the project as part of its five-year capital plan in June, university administrators estimated that a new building would cost $5.2 million and that the university would pay half. It was not clear if the project costs or specifications remain the same at this time. The discussion was brief, as the board cannot vote on the matter until its next meeting on April 18 at the earliest.

But the talk of a new capital project and obtaining the money for it comes closely on the heels of a good legislative year for the university system, the first year in several that the state has had new money to allocate, instead of severe budget deficits to contend with, as New Mexico’s oil and gas industry recovered.

“I think all of Eastern New Mexico University did very well,” said Dr. Jeff Elwell, president of the ENMU system, which includes the main campus in Portales and the branch campuses in Roswell and Portales.

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“With the 4 percent redistribution and the 2 percent new money, I just looked, and Roswell, instead of having a hundred and some thousand taken, ended up actually in appropriations with $51,000 — and change — more,” Elwell said.

After legislative action and Gov. Susana Martinez’s review, Roswell ended up getting $11,279,695 from state appropriations and severance bonds and an additional $3 million allotment in a general obligation bond item to fund renovations to the campus automotive and welding building. The GO bond item will be decided by voters in November.

Portales got about $705,000 more in appropriations than the previous year, while Ruidoso got at least $10,000 more than the previous year, Elwell said.

The New Mexico Legislature also approved an increase in employee compensation of up to 2 percent, which will decrease a bit to accommodate associated benefits. But at least a 1 percent compensation increase should be realized, Elwell said. That will be on top of the 3 percent pay increase for Roswell employees approved by the Branch Community College Board and the ENMU Board of Regents in November.

The board also was scheduled to discuss in a closed executive session whether to name an interim president at ENMU-R following the March 7 decision by former president Dr. John Madden to retire and take immediate leave through the end of June. Dr. Ken Maguire, vice president of academic affairs, was tapped as acting president pending a board decision. The search for a new president also was to be discussed.

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 310, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.

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Lisa Dunlap is a general assignment reporter for the Roswell Daily Record.