By Karl Terry: PNT Managing Editor
There’s a new dog on campus at Eastern New Mexico University, and indications are he’s going to be one busy pooch.
With more than $37 million in construction and improvements planned over the next three years at ENMU, a faculty group decided a mascot image to oversee the construction was needed. After a couple of contests, Hardhat Hound was adopted with the slogan “Constructing Student Success.”
While the disruption of student and public access around the campus has gotten a whimsical face, the construction is going to hit a frantic pace over the coming months.
“I came to work for the university in ’93, and we’ve got more construction dollars at work than any time since I’ve been here,” said Lewis Reeves, director of ENMU’s physical plant. “We’ve always had a project going. … It’s just never been as busy as it is now.”
ENMU director of communication services Wendel Sloan says the Hardhat Hound campaign also includes a “hardhat” committee, charged with coming up with ways to keep students and the public informed about construction on campus. It also includes an e-mail address people can send construction questions to and a Web page that lists the ongoing projects.
“We have fresh updates every month and in the Monday Mail,” Sloan said.
He says the committee meets at 11 a.m. the first Tuesday of each month in the Regents Room. The public is welcome to attend, hear what’s going on and address the committee with problems.
Key among those projects is major renovation at the Campus Union Building that has just begun, work on remodeling the Science Building and a new student housing development. Work on the latter two projects should begin before year-end, Reeves said.
Campus Union Building
According to Reeves, a project to redo the CUB roof is being completed after nearly eight months, with delays caused by unanticipated roof conditions. Demolition on the remodel began in June and came to the public’s attention as the upstairs windows in the ballroom lobby were missing during the annual Peanut Valley Festival.
Reeves says work is planned there to completely replace all the windows with smaller, double-paned windows that will be more energy efficient.
“We have lots of solar gain in the summer (at the CUB),” Reeves said. “It’s made it hard to cool, and we had heat exchange in the winter, too.”
Reeves says the biggest focus of the CUB project is downstairs, where contractors are making renovations where the Ground Zero coffee shop was previously. It will become the new Ground Zero convenience store, which anticipates a Starbucks coffee bar, a World of Wings (WOW) franchise fast-food restaurant and a Freshens Smoothie franchise as well as such regular convenience store items as toiletries and snack chips.
Reeves says that part of the project is expected to be done by the start of the spring semester. In addition, three new conference rooms and a storage area are planned downstairs.
Reeves says there will be bathroom remodels, flooring replacement and new decor and furniture throughout the building when finished. Even the parquet floor of the ballroom will be replaced. Plans call for a hardwood dance floor with carpet tiles further back for esthetics and acoustic reasons.
The $3.7 million project is slated for completion in March, though Reeves says that may get pushed back slightly because of changes.
The ENMU Science Department found temporary quarters outside the Science Building earlier this year in anticipation of construction starting there this fall.
According to Reeves, bids on the re-construction of the building came back last week and were over budget. He says negotiations are in progress to come up with a contract.
Reeves anticipates construction will begin on the building by December.
In 2004 the statewide Bond B election earmarked $7 million for a new science building at ENMU. Because of construction cost increases during planning, a renovation and addition were decided on instead of all-new construction, according to a previous PNT report.
A federal appropriation will provide more than $600,000 in new lab and classroom equipment for the building.
Ground was recently broken on a new student housing project on the east side of the campus. Reeves says that dirt work on the site should start in the next two weeks on that project, which is being constructed and managed by Collegiate Development Services of Irving, Texas.
The four-building complex with apartment-like amenities will have 270 beds. Total cost is anticipated at $14 million and the project should be complete by fall of 2007, according to previous PNT reports.
The list of other projects is long and varied, according to Reeves. From repaving to major work on the heating and cooling loop, the changes will affect every corner of the campus and be going on simultaneously in many cases.
Reeves says to help oversee the different projects, a new person has been hired in his department whose main job will be quality assurance on the projects.
In addition to the work already on his plate, Reeves says everyone is excited about the prospects for a new music building if statewide Bond B passes in November.