The old campus Greek complex located just south of Presley Askew Field is finally being demolished.
The complex has been a fixture on campus since 1973, but has sat empty for over a decade. University administrators ordered the complex to be decommissioned in 2011, but a lot goes into that process before demolition actually begins. The complex comprises a total of 12 buildings. These structures once housed ROTC students and fraternities such as Sigma Chi and Pi Kappa Alpha. Four of the structures were formerly used as dormitories and even housed kitchens, lounges, conference rooms and classrooms. The newest structures were added to the complex in 1995.
Project manager Jon Padilla explained why the complex was abandoned. “The infrastructure was going bad and there was not enough money to maintain new infrastructures,” Padilla said. “The sewer was failing, so they decided to decommission it.”
According to Padilla, the first step in the process of shutting down and removing the structures was to de-energize all of the facilities. The next step required talking to university administrators and government officials in order to secure funding for the demolition. Finally, in December 2022, Padilla was able to form a contract with GenCon General Construction, which is the company that is currently handling the demolition.
“From July to December, I was working with all of the entities for higher approvals, state board approvals, finance approval, procurement approval,” Padilla said. “All those entities have to go through the process to approve the funds.”
Since the start of the demolition, crew workers from GenCon have worked from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday tearing down portions of the buildings. From there, the grounds crew piles up the rubble and hauls it away. Padilla said all the buildings in the complex will be gone by the end of June.
Once all the rubble has been cleared, a new project is planned for the site. The new project will include construction of a small park. The total cost of the project is $1.8 million. Padilla said he hopes the entire project will be finished by the end of June, at which time he will move on to another project, the planned construction of a new practice field for the NMSU football team.
“Now we’re appropriating new funds to build a new artificial turf practice field,” Padilla said. “This is in the works to start in mid-May. All of this was funded by athletics.” Earlier this year, Padilla oversaw the installation of new field turf at Aggie Memorial Stadium.
For now, though, Padilla said he is focused on getting the current demolition and new park construction project finished.
Hannah Hunter and other Kokopelli staff members contributed to this report.