by Kathy Hedges
SOCORRO, N.M., May 1, 2006 – Now that several New Mexico Tech offices and services have moved into the new Joseph A. Fidel Student Services Center, two events are being planned to introduce the building to the public.
First, the building will be dedicated on Saturday, May 13, immediately following commencement. This ceremony will include Sen. Fidel, his wife and family, and various other dignitaries.
Then, when the new semester starts in August, a Grand Opening is scheduled to introduce students and other members of the Tech community to the new building.
The dedication on May 13 will feature a “ribbon cutting” ceremony that is unique to New Mexico Tech. The ribbon will actually be split in two by a tiny explosive, operated by experts from Tech’s Energetic Materials Research and Testing Center (EMRTC).
The ribbon “explosion” ceremony will be held directly after the close of Tech’s graduation ceremonies, which begin at 11 a.m. and are expected to end around 12:30 p.m. The recessional at the end of graduation will proceed to Fidel Center, where the brief ceremony will be conducted, followed by a reception for all new graduates and their families. The ceremony is open to the public, as is graduation itself.
The Grand Opening is scheduled for the week of Monday, August 21 to Friday, August 25. This marks the beginning of a new semester at Tech, as classes start on August 22. Events are still in the planning stages but are expected to include give-aways, contests, and other fun activities.
According to Melissa Jaramillo-Fleming, assistant vice president of Student and University Relations, “We thought that the best time to introduce the building to both old and new students would be at the beginning of the semester, marking a series of new beginnings for everyone. We want everyone to be able to relax and enjoy this fabulous new building, and a new semester is the perfect time for that.”
The 92,000-square-foot Fidel Center houses all university functions that relate to student needs, such as Admission, Registrar, Financial Aid, Auxiliary Services, Residential Life, the Book Store, Food Services, Campus Post Office, Career Services, International and Exchange Programs, the Student Health Center, Counseling and Disability Services, the Advising Resource Center, Advancement, student financial accounts, and cashier.
In addition, Fidel Center contains a food court with grill, pasta station, pizza station, wok station, salad bar, pastry bar, and comfort food stations, according to Louise Chamberlin, Auxiliary Services director for New Mexico Tech. In addition, there is a coffee shop serving Starbucks coffee, baked goods, personal-sized pizzas, calzones and similar fare.
As befits a student services center, Fidel also contains the campus bookstore and post office.
Other building amenities include a computer pod, a small student lounge/television room, scattered seating areas throughout the hallways, a large game room, and outside patios.