Features, Home

Campus infrastructure creates challenges for maintenance staff

NMSU is back in full swing after students and faculty returned to campus this August. However, a walk through campus reveals several infrastructure problems that have not been addressed. 

An obvious example of an older maintenance issue is the hole that is boarded up at Frenger food court. Earlier this summer, an accident occurred while a worker was trimming palm trees outside of Zuhl Library. A bucket truck failed to stay in place and collided into the east wall of the food court. It also managed to knock down a tree, a small brick wall and a light pole. Luckily, no one was hurt.

The accident occurred five months ago and the damage has not been fixed. Director of Facilities Maintenance, Paul Ponce, said the insurance claim is currently being processed for the Frenger accident. Ponce said the risk management department meets with insurance representatives and then a request must be submitted to the project development department before reconstruction can begin.

What appears to be mold covers one of two ceiling panels on the second floor of Rhodes-Garrett-Hamiel Hall on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022. (Photo by Juan Echeagaray/ Kokopelli)

Mold was discovered in two ceiling panels on the second floor of Rhodes-Garrett-Hamiel in the west wing. It was first noticed by resident Vadden Gooding when he moved into his dorm at the beginning of the semester. Gooding says he feels “disgust” passing by it every day to get to his room and also mentioned that there was no hot water.

The recent monsoon season had an impact on Milton Hall. A large strip of stucco fell from one of the windowsills on a rainy afternoon in August and the debris covered a portion of the outdoor patio area on the west side of the building for several days before maintenance workers were able to clean it up. The maintenance team had to be careful when dealing with the mess because of the asbestos within Milton’s building materials. According to Ponce, the area is safe and the asbestos is secure, however, there are plans to remodel Milton Hall or even tear it down within the next few years.

“We just have to secure it until decisions are made on how to get that repaired,” Ponce said.

A campus infrastructure problem that’s been around for a long period of time is the hole that was cut out of the ceiling in Building G at Chamisa Village. The hole was caused by a leak from a specially ordered part that was on backorder.

A hole in the ceiling of Building G at Chamisa Village is clearly visible Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022. The hole has reportedly been there for months. (Photo by Juan Echeagaray/ Kokopelli)

“Anytime that we shut a utility off to any building for any repair, we have to do an outage and coordinate it with the building users,” Ponce said. However, even with most students being gone during the summer, the hole still has not been fixed, which leads Ponce to believe it could be a “coordination issue.”

Chamisa Village resident Riley Robertson has lived in Building G for three semesters and claims the hole has been there since last spring. He also says that he has a few issues with Chamisa Village regarding electrical and air-conditioning problems in his unit. He also mentioned the water was of bad quality and that he had to buy an office water cooler because not even his dog drinks the water.

Another issue at Chamisa is the parking lot lights that go out periodically during the night.

“There is definitely little pockets that are really dark. I wouldn’t get out, and I’m a six-foot two guy. I feel sketched out, too,” Robertson said.

When the lighting issue was presented to Ponce, he said he believed it could be due to recent heavy rains. He explained that there is an extensive list of lights that need troubleshooting on campus.

“It’s priority if there [isn’t additional] lighting there. One lamp isn’t going to make that much difference compared to a whole string of them down,” Ponce said.

A lack of exterior lighting outside Foster Hall creates a dark passageway Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022. (Photo by Juan Echeagaray/ Kokopelli)

Ponce added that there was recently a power outage in Sutherland Village that took “priority over one lamp in a parking lot that has 20 other lamps in it.”

There are also exterior lighting issues along the sidewalks east and north of Zuhl Library and in the courtyard of Foster Hall. Ponce said he did not realize the Foster Hall lights were out, so he added them to the list. Numerous outdoor lights near Zuhl Library have reportedly been out for years.

“I appreciate people letting us know because it’s not conscious neglect. There’s lots of nooks and crannies,” Ponce said.

An issue NMSU faced last semester was some of the automatic door openers not working on campus when the buttons are pressed. Although the buttons have reportedly been tested recently, a few still do not work including the north interior and exterior buttons at Goddard Hall, along with the west exterior button at Goddard Hall.

Ponce indicated that his department has created a preventative maintenance program that divides the campus into zones. Each zone is supposed to be checked in one- to three-month intervals. This plan gives every shop the opportunity to service each building year-round. Shops can check HVAC, door locks and lighting within a given zone all at once. Ponce also says that he and his team walk the campus exterior at night once or twice a year to make sure everything is functioning properly.

Students and staff are encouraged to report issues to the NMSU Facilities and Services department or to their resident advisers. On-campus residents are able to submit work orders via email to FSWorkorder@nmsu.edu. 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *