Home News Local News ENMU regents approve new physical plant building

ENMU regents approve new physical plant building

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Lisa Dunlap Photo ENMU-Roswell will proceed with architectural designs for a new physical plant to replace the five Quonset huts now used for the department. This shows the inside of one of the huts, housing the janitorial unit. The hut has a hole where the wall and the ceiling meet in one corner of the building.

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The Board of Regents for Eastern New Mexico University has approved the plan of the Roswell campus to use some of its own reserve funds to build a new physical plant building, which has been given a preliminary estimated cost of $3 million to $5 million.

University administrators, meeting with the regents during a Friday afternoon meeting on the Roswell campus, described a pressing need for a new building to replace the five World War II-era Quonset huts that now house the various units of the Physical Plant Department.

“When you go inside those buildings, you can stand inside and look up and see the sky,” said Scott Smart, ENMU vice president for business affairs. “Every office has a 55-gallon barrel in it and, when it rains, they just move the barrel. These things should have been replaced a long, long time ago.”

Smart said that ENMU-R will have the architectural firm of Dekker Perich Sabatini begin designs for the physical plant building, which will be located on West Mathis Street across from the Quonset huts. Construction is expected to begin in fall 2019.

He added that the firm also will start design for a $3 million renovation of the automotive maintenance and welding building. That renovation was approved by the New Mexico Legislature as one of the higher education capital projects to be funded by a general obligation bond issue, which goes before statewide voters in November.

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University administrators believe voters will approve the bond, Smart explained, but even if they do not, the investment in design for a needed project is believed to be worthwhile.

Those projects were among several approved by the regents for all three universities in the ENMU system, Portales, Ruidoso and Roswell, as the campuses presented their five-year capital projects lists. Roswell also was approved for developing a master facilities plan with the aid of an architect.

Other discussions and actions at the meeting concerning Roswell included the following items:

• Regents approved several changes to degree and certificate programs. An Emergency Medical Technician program will be reintroduced for the New Mexico Youth Challenge Program, which is run by the National Guard and uses dormitories and facilities on the ENMU-R campus. The youth program is seeking to increase its student body to 250, according to Dr. Ken Maguire, ENMU-R vice president for academic affairs, and wants to add career-prep programs of interest to its cadets.

The college also increased some fees for courses and for the program itself related to the automotive maintenance degrees and certificates. Maguire said that the program had been redesigned a few years ago to make it more in line with industry and employer needs and that the college needed to update fees to recoup a greater portion of the program costs. With the new fees, the university will be reimbursed about 55 percent of its costs, Maguire said.

• Dr. Allen Meadors of the Academic Career and Executive Search (ACES) firm talked about the assistance the firm will provide the ENMU-R presidential search committee to find and do initial screening of candidates. The former president, Dr. John Madden, announced his retirement in March after about 10 years as head of the campus and took immediate leave until the end of June.

Meador, a former university president, said he already has met with committee members and ENMU-R faculty and staff. The firm’s first priority will be to develop a final job description. When the search committee approves that, the firm will announce the position, using both public advertisements and their own contacts in academia and higher education fields. Meador said the firm will recommend 10 to 15 candidates to the search committee, which will then be responsible for background and reference checks and interviewing. The committee and the ENMU-Roswell board will recommend five finalists to ENMU president Dr. Jeff Elwell, who will make the selection after interviews involving community and university members. A new president is expected to be on campus by August.

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