Funds pending for local entities

By Marc Schoder

Both Eastern New Mexico University and the Portales MainStreet program could stand to benefit from potential funding from Congress.
U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) announced Tuesday that a key Senate subcommittee has provided funding to purchase science equipment for Eastern New Mexico University and Economic Development Initiative (EDI) funds for the City of Portales to renovate the Yam Movie Palace.
“We are encouraged that the money is there in the bill in the subcommittee,” Greg Erf of the Portales MainStreet Organization said.
City Manager Debbie Lee added that the Yam Movie Palace has been a priority for the Mainstreet Organization.
“The Yam needs a total renovation of the inside,” Lee said. Lee added that the MainStreet board submitted this grant with the help of Senator Domenici’s office.
The bill. according to Jude McCartin, a spokesman for Senator Bingaman’s office, is working its way through committee and still faces several weeks in the normal legislative process.
The plans for the Yam Movie Palace include community movie nights as well as theater events, according to Lee.
“The Yam is a multi-use facility similar to what is done at the Memorial Building,” said Lee.
The theater, according to Lee, could open as soons as January of 2007.
Eastern New Mexico University will recieve $620,000 from the same appropriations subcommittee for instructional equipment to outfit the new science center at ENMU.
“The equipment is for primarily for our labs in biology and chemistry,” said University President Steven Gamble.
The science building which the equipment will be going into according to Gamble is still in the working process.
Voters approved in 2004 Bond Question B, which provided the university with funds, nearly $7 million of which was earmarked for a new science building, but Gamble said, “seven million dollars doesn’t buy as much as it did in the construction market as it did five years ago.”
Instead, the current science building will be renovated and an addition will be added.
“Our students will face some inconviences when the construction is going on,” said Gamble. For example, lecture classes for some subjects could be moved to the Jack Williamson Liberal Arts Building during construction.
Once started, the renovations and additions to the science building are expected to be completed between 18 months and two years.