After winning a Christmas season bowl game, the gift keeps on giving to NMSU’s football program as the team is receiving nearly $16 million in upgrades to its main facilities.
The upgrades to Aggie Memorial Stadium come at a time when the university is preparing to enter Conference USA later this year. Upgrades to the stadium’s turf and locker room are in the works according to Gary Martinez, who is a project manager with the university’s facilities and services project development and engineering department.
The current locker room, built in 1978, has seen its fair share of tribulations according to Martinez. He said that the locker room overall is “outdated” and prone to water leaks. The new building will address these issues and then some.
“Having a new building is always great,” Martinez said. “With this new building, we’ll be able to incorporate the latest and greatest technology to be able to recruit athletes, to be able to come in when they’re injured and be comfortable and just giving them that space that is theirs.”
The new locker room will be built as a two-story complex, which will house the Aggies’ locker space on the ground floor, allowing for easier entrances to the field on game days. The new complex will be built adjacent to the Aggie Hall of Legends building. The current locker room will be for visiting teams.
In addition to a brand new locker space for the 2022 Quick Lane Bowl champions, the facility will also house a nutritional center, health offices, hydrotherapy and mental health services for all NMSU athletes to access.
“Everybody is real excited,” Martinez said. “I’ve heard nothing but great news. Everybody is really excited to see the final product.”
According to Martinez, the project is still in its design stages. Construction is expected to begin in the third quarter of 2023, and expected to be completed by August 2024. The project is expected to cost $15 million and is being paid for by funds that were appropriated by the New Mexico legislature in 2022, according to Martinez.
NMSU football players and staff will continue using the current locker facilities without major interruptions during the fall 2023 season. In addition to the new locker room facilities set to open next year, the team will play on brand new turf this year when the 2023 season officially kicks off this August.
Approximately $1.7 million was initially requested to replace the turf that was installed nine years ago, according to NMSU’s 2022 capital outlay request sheet, but ended up costing about $769,000. The new turf is being paid for by a severance tax bond.
Project manager John Padilla, who oversees the turf renovation efforts, said the previous turf was not only reaching the end of its useful life, but that it was also prone to flooding in the outer arena area.
The new turf is expected to help NMSU athletics recruitment efforts, and better protect athletes while playing their sports.
“It would provide better playing field performance and lessen the possibility of injuries to players,” Padilla said.
Remaining field markings such as logos and yard lines are currently being installed. The April 20 spring game will mark the football team’s first use of the new turf before the official fall 2023 season begins on Aug. 26 against the University of Massachusetts.