ENMU music building gets makeover

By Celena Cordova, PNT Intern

Eastern New Mexico University is tuning up for the future with a $9 million renovation of the school’s music building.

Michael Sitton, dean of the College of Fine Arts, said recruiting potential students is becoming more competitive for colleges these days and the new facility will be a great way to attract students.

“It’s important for us to have facilities that compete with other institutions that students may be looking at,” Sitton said, “and we feel this will be a facility that we will be proud of.”

Music student Jesse Mathews of Carlsbad, 23, said modern facilities are important to students.

“As with any learning environment, the more up-to-date and higher quality it is, the more the students feel that the institution really cares about their education,” Mathews said.

The students and faculty are temporarily using the old KENW broadcast center, Chavez Hall and a few College of Business classrooms until the new building is complete.

More than 200 students are involved in the Department of Music. Owen and Mathews said that moving into unfamiliar quarters has caused some difficulties.

“We’re rehearsing in the broadcast center with a band of 110, 115 (students),” Mathews explained. “The small space can be deafening.”

Mathews described the building as a small space with metal walls. Because sound bounces off the walls more easily, the students have a more difficult time being engaged in the music.

The funding for the project comes from several sources, including fundraisers, appropriated ENMU funds and general obligation bonds. A $1 million general obligation bond for the music building will be part of a question on the November general election ballot.

The renovation includes new classrooms on the second floor and a new band rehearsal room on the southwest corner of the building.

“The feeling is that this will be such a wonderful new thing that we’ll be patient and get through it,” Sitton said. “We’re just focused on the result.”
Sitton and Mathews also said the ENMU music program helps to bring culture to the community.

“So this is really not just about a new building for ENMU and ENMU students, but it’s a resource for the community,” said Sitton.

The music building is scheduled for completion in late 2009. Construction begins next month, according to Sitton.