By Tony Parra
New athletic facilities and building infrastructure were the key items in the 2005 New Mexico Legislative session for Eastern New Mexico University.
So far, $1.46 million has been reserved for the university, ranging from improvements to the building infrastructure to athletics facilities. ENMU president Steven Gamble said that $450,000 for athletic facilities and athletic facilities’ improvements will go to the construction of new facilities to be shared between the ENMU women’s softball team and the women’s soccer team. He said the rest of the money will go to a new facility which will be shared between the ENMU baseball team and the men’s soccer team.
Gamble said it is estimated to cost between $275,000 to $300,000 for each athletic facility. He said the remainder of the money needed to pay for the facilities will be through other ENMU financial resources.
“(Sen.) Stuart Ingle (R-Portales) took the leadership and all of our legislators from the entire part of eastern New Mexico worked hard to bring funding to the university,” Gamble said. “It’s not done until the governor signs off on it.”
Ingle said the governor could still line-item veto a portion of the capital outlay funds, but feels the governor will not veto all of it. Ingle said the governor has 20 days to make his line-item vetoes.
“I think capital outlay funding went really well for Roosevelt County,” Ingle said. “There were some nice numbers for the sheriff’s department and much needed help for highway projects. There are a lot of good things going on at the university. Enrollment is on the rise, almost to 4,000. They’ve done a good job of recruiting and bringing good kids from around the state and locally.”
Gamble said the $500,000 appropriated for infrastructure would go to heating and cooling improvements in ENMU buildings.
The $185,000 for distance education equipment would go to two-way video for professors so they can teach in Portales and reach students in Hobbs, Ruidoso, Roswell, Clovis and Cannon Air Force Base.
Gamble said that $82,000 was set for a remote television van purchase for the new broadcast building, currently under construction. He said that $175,000 will go towards new equipment for the department of communications to help in the instructors’ teaching.
ENMU students lobbied to try to get $130,000 from the 2005 New Mexico Legislative Session on a couple of projects — $65,000 to renovate the anthropology facility next to the Greyhound Arena and $65,000 for lighting equipment for the theater building.
There was $53,000 designated for the anthropology facility.
“I am thrilled that we were able to raise the amount that we did,” Rae Gross, ENMU student lobbyist, said. “Of course we had hoped to get the full $65,000 but this is an important step toward saving many vital artifacts from Eastern New Mexico’s past. It is also important because it illustrates how students can make a difference at their University.”
Gross said Ingle sponsored the bills on the senate side, while Rep. Keith Gardner (R-Roswell) sponsored them on the house side.
However, ENMU representatives realize that Richardson can veto any individual item so many things are still up in the air.
“There’s still a lot we don’t know,” ENMU Regent Marshall Stinnett said. “We’re thankful for what we can get.”