by Roger Renteria

Campus construction

(For enlarged view, click on photo.

SOCORRO, June 11, 2008 – In the coming months, the New Mexico Tech campus will undergo some landscape changes and minor construction. Construction will begin this summer and continue through to the fall.

In addition, the New Mexico Tech Board of Regents approved two contracts for building renovation at a special meeting Monday, June 9.

The area between the front stairs of Joseph A. Fidel Center and the north side of the gym will have a gently sloping grass berm with shade trees to replace the existing gravel, wood chips, and bark.

“Currently, we’re looking to begin work on the area north of the gym this summer and be complete before the fall,” said Dan Jones, Tech’s landscape architect.

Construction also includes the area south of the gym between Presidents Hall and West Hall. La Raj Patio will be renovated for easier access and use.

“The railroad ties at La Raj are weathering and need to be replaced with a stronger material,” Jones said. The ties are going to be replaced with split face blocks similar to ones used for retaining walls next to the Altamirano Student Apartments.

In the same area, the fire lane between Fidel Center and the gym will be extended to Campus Drive. This fire lane will be 20 feet wide for emergency vehicles as required by the Fire Marshall. Currently, campus police and maintenance vehicles drive through La Raj to access Campus Drive.

Also, work on the third floor of Fidel begins this summer and is expected to be complete by winter. The area south of Fidel is currently the contractor’s construction yard.

Campus construction

(For enlarged view, click on photo.

The next major landscape project for Tech will be on the empty lot between West Hall and Fidel Center. Construction scheduled for later this year will transform the empty lot into a picnic area, volleyball court and additional parking space. The plan is for three picnic-style tables and barbecue grills along with natural and artificial shade. A new sand volleyball court will be built on the northwest corner of the lot in order to replace the court that was recently removed from the Athletic Field. The remaining area west of West Hall will have additional parking in order to relieve the parking congestion on Campus Drive.

Storm drainage will be incorporated in the construction of the parking lot and student area between Fidel and West to reduce the amount of water overflowing towards South Hall. The drainage from the parking lot will be sent to Campus Drive, reducing the amount of overflow between Fidel, Gym, West and Presidents Hall.

The Campus Map and Sign on the corner of Leroy Place and Campus Drive will be replaced with a newer sign. The new sign was fabricated by Neon Signs and be placed on the existing location. In addition, landscaping around the new sign will shortly begin after the installation is complete.

Throughout the summer, smaller campus construction projects include a fire suppression system upgrade by Lobo Fire Protection Services for MSEC, minor remodeling for the Gym offices, and finalization of the electrical feed between Desert Willow Apartments and West Hall.

At the Monday meeting, the Board of Regents approved a $4.2 million contract with Stoven Construction Inc. to add on to the 40-year-old Kelly Building, which houses the Petroleum Resource Recovery Center. The work will take about a year.

The board also approved a contract with URETEK USA Inc. for $266,080. The Texas company will stabilize the soil around the Jones Annex building, which was constructed in the mid-1990s.

URETEK USA was the only company to submit a bid. Due to the special nature of the project, the university proceeded with awarding the contract to the sole bidder.

Since its construction, the Jones Annex building has settled, causing foundation problems. The work is expected to prevent future settling.

– NMT –