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Multiple campus construction projects slated for completion this year

To welcome NMSU employees, students and visitors and to meet the university’s current and future academic plans and needs, the Office of the University Architect expects crews to complete the “Gateway to NMSU” monument next month. Meanwhile, construction of several new campus buildings will continue through the end of the year as part of the Agricultural Modernization and Educational Facilities improvement project.

Construction of the new “Gateway to NMSU” monument project appears well underway Monday, March 21, 2022. Located on Triviz Drive near the new traffic roundabouts, the monument is projected to be completed next month. (Photo by Alyssa Gonzales/Kokopelli)

The monument is located at the new highway right-of-way and Triviz roundabout on the northeast side of the NMSU main campus. The project immediately follows completion of the New Mexico Department of Transportation I-25/University Avenue reconstruction project.

This “Gateway to NMSU” monumental project comes along with seat walls and benches to boost the campus experience for students, employees, visitors and community members as they can take photos there, according to Heather Watenpaugh, the university architect and campus planning officer.

“The project coordination with NMDOT is [also] intended to improve motor vehicle, bicycle, and pedestrian safety in addition to creating a transit supportive environment by including adequate walkways that are fully integrated with the existing pedestrian circulation network and flow of traffic through the campus,” Watenpaugh said.

An architectural rendering reveals what the new Food Science Learning and Safety facility will look like once it’s completed. Located on Knox Street just south of Stewart, the facility is projected to open later this year. (Photo courtesy of University Architect/NMSU)

The current improvements to the NMSU College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences — located on the west side of the main campus — involve construction of three new facilities, as well as renovations and additions to the New Mexico Department of Agriculture building, according to Watenpaugh.

The three new facilities include a biomedical research building, a feed milling and processing facility, and a food science learning and safety facility. The NMDA renovation consists of a new lab building for metrology, petroleum and seed labs along with a state chemist lab addition.

[CLICK HERE FOR LIVE WEBCAM VIEWS OF THE BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH BUILDING AND FOOD SCIENCE AND SAFETY BUILDING CONSTRUCTION SITES]

“NMSU is behind many land grant universities and [is] in need of these facilities to accomplish the three missions of the university: teaching, research and extension,” said Rolando Flores Galarza, the ACES dean and chief administrative officer.

Construction of the NMDA building addition and new lab space appears well underway Monday, March 21, 2022. Located on Gregg Street between Espina and Knox, the new facility is expected to be completed in August 2022. (Photo by Alyssa Gonzales/Kokopelli)

For the Office of the University Architect to accomplish the university’s mission from a facilities standpoint, each proposed project must follow and join the NMSU campus master and strategic plans in order to be processed by the New Mexico Higher Education Department for possible state annual funds, Watenpaugh said.

“Individual departments’ academic plan will help support the physical needs for each program,” she added.

The ACES and NMDA projects started in the beginning of 2021 and are expected to end in May 2024. 

A future major project is the replacement of Thomas and Brown Hall, which is the home of the electrical and computer engineering program. The building is up for replacement due to its outdated design of rooms, inefficient energy, plumbing problems, lack of power outlets and HVAC issues, according to Steve Stochaj, the department head of electrical and computer engineering.

“Modern facilities are essential to attract, train and retain students and are at the core of student success,” Stochaj said. “In addition to housing parts of the ECE program, the building will be the new home for the Engineering Learning Community. Students from all departments can receive tutoring and peer mentoring, learn leadership skills, connect with industry partners, and explore micro-credentials in this space. It will be the ‘front porch’ for the College of Engineering and emphasizes the college’s commitment to supporting student success.”

The Thomas and Brown Hall replacement project will be part of a 2022 General Obligation Bond, and will go to voting on election day for possible funding, according to Watenpaugh. If enough funds are approved and/or raised, construction of the building’s replacement might start in July 2023.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated there were Hepatitis A (HAV) problems in Thomas and Brown Hall. The corrected version identifies heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) problems. 

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