Tony Parra: PNT Staff Writer
A look ahead the middle of January will bring about the completion of one long-awaited construction project and the delay of another construction project in Portales.
Tushar Patel, Albuquerque developer of the Holiday Inn Express, said the goal is to open the hotel by the end of the month.
“We’ve had some applications for positions come in and we’ve hired some employees,” Patel said. “We’re looking to have between 10 to 15 employees.”
Patel, a representative of TNJ Management, said workers encountered delays during the early portion of the construction work due to weather and difficulty getting materials. These incidents pushed the opening date from November to January. Patel said everything has been running smoothly over the last months of the construction project.
“We’re looking to have the grand opening some time in February,” Patel said. The 65-room hotel will contain a conference room and a small meeting room. He said the room rates will range $65 to $70 a night.
Patel said landscaping work will take place during January. Patel said he’s anxious for the opening of the hotel.
Eastern New Mexico University officials are having to deal with a different type of delay in the opening of the new communications building. They wanted to have the building open in time for the first day of spring classes on Jan. 17, but an unforeseen economic event caused a delay in the schedule.
Scott Smart, vice president for business affairs at ENMU, said they are hopeful for completion in February. He said completion of the sprinkler system for the building to put out fires is the last step before finalization of the communications building.
Smart said the delay is caused due to a surge suppressant pump which was supposed to be provided by G.M. Malone Fire Protection of El Paso. He said the company went bankrupt and contractors had to look elsewhere for the pump, causing a six-to-eight-week delay.
“It’s disappointing, big time,” Smart said. “It’s unfortunate.”
Smart said ENMU officials review the building once it is completed and accept it then they receive electrical and fire permits.
ENMU officials will be busy with many construction projects during the summer. Smart said they have the final designs on the addition and renovation work to the science building and will be going out for bids for the construction job.
Meanwhile, there are three other buildings currently under construction on campus. A building next to the Zia softball complex is being built to house locker rooms and offices for the coaches. A similar building is being constructed next to the Greyhound baseball field. The building, which will house locker rooms and offices for the coaches, will be adjacent to the home dugout.
Smart said an indoor practice facility is also being constructed which will be located behind the stands on the west side of the field. He said without this practice facility baseball and softball players had been forced to practice in the Greyhound Arena. With the dirt floor in the new practice facility, the players can more adequately practice and it opens up the arena gyms for the students and public.
According to Smart, the goal is to have the buildings finished during the spring semester.