Reader-submitted content: ENMU regents approve building demolition

Wendel Sloan

The Eastern New Mexico University Board of Regents has approved demolishing three older, unoccupied buildings on the Portales campus, and removing asbestos-containing materials in the ceiling of Greyhound Arena and replacing the ceiling.

Regents made the decision during their meeting Wednesday afternoon in Santa Fe.

The estimated cost for all four projects is $5.9 million. ENMU President Steven Gamble said the projects will be financed through money available from a retiring bond the university has been paying off at $300,000 per year, and the normal room rates paid by occupants of the new residence hall.

The projects are subject to the approval of the New Mexico Higher Education Department.

Being razed are Lincoln Hall, a seven-story dormitory built in 1965; DeBaca Hall, a three-story dormitory built in 1962; and Chaves Hall, a three-story dormitory built in 1955.

Razing of Lincoln Hall is set to begin in late spring with asbestos abatement. It will take two to three months to bring down and clear the debris, with an estimated cost of $1.7 million, according to Scott Smart, vice president for business affairs.

In its place, an approximately $12 million, two- or three-story residence hall will be constructed, with an anticipated opening in August 2012.

Rooms will have two beds, with two rooms sharing a bathroom. It will accommodate about 360 students, most of whom will be freshmen formerly housed in Bernalillo Hall.

Bernalillo Hall, a seven-story dormitory, will be closed at the time the new residence hall is opened.

Asbestos removal in DeBaca Hall is expected to start in late July or mid-August. The total estimated cost for demolition and removal is $1.2 million, and will take 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 months.

Asbestos removal in Chaves Hall is to begin in mid-August or early September. The total cost for demolition and removal is estimated to be $500,000, and will take one to 1 1/2 months.

According to Ted Fares, director of the ENMU Physical Plant, green spaces will replace DeBaca Hall and Chaves Hall.

The estimated cost of the Greyhound Arena ceiling project is $2.5 million, and is planned to begin in May and take approximately three months.

“We are excited about these projects,” Gamble said. “The new residence hall will be a great boon for our growing enrollment and students who want to enjoy the advantages of living on campus. It will be a first-class facility.

“In addition, the demolition of old, unused buildings and the resulting green spaces will further beautify a campus that is already considered one of the most attractive in New Mexico. We are eager to get these projects under way.”