Notes from the Aug. 14, 2004 Regents Meeting

by George Zamora

CHAMA, N.M. — The New Mexico Tech Board of Regents has approved the school’s Five-Year Facilities Plan Priority List for 2005-2009, with top priority given to a $2 million request to complete construction, equip, and furnish the new Joseph A. Fidel Student Services Center at the state-supported research university.

The three-story Fidel Student Services Center is currently under construction in the middle of the Tech campus and is scheduled to be completed sometime next summer, prior to the start of New Mexico Tech’s 2005 Fall Semester.

The priority list of on-campus capital projects also included requests for a new $9 million building to entirely house the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources (second on the priority list) and $8 million to construct a new physical recreation and wellness facility for the university (third on the priority list).

After garnering unanimous approval from the New Mexico Tech Board of Regents, the priority list, which includes four other proposed projects, will now be forwarded to the New Mexico Commission on Higher Education (CHE) for its formal evaluation as capital projects the New Mexico State Legislature may possibly consider funding during next year’s legislative session.

Rounding off New Mexico Tech’s “wish list” are a $10 million facility to house the university’s chemistry and materials engineering departments (fourth on the list); $4 million for campus infrastructure (fifth); campus improvements to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements, totaling $2.5 million (sixth); and $15 million in additional funding for the yet-to-be-constructed Magdalena Ridge Observatory (seventh).

During the governing board's August 15 meeting in Chama, N.M., the New Mexico Tech Board of Regents also approved a list of Research and Public Service Funding Requests and Priorities for Fiscal Year 2005-2006, totaling more than $3 million in possible state funding for upgrades and increases in existing projects at the university.

In other official actions considered at the board's monthly meeting, the New Mexico Tech Board of Regents also approved the following measures:

The New Mexico Tech Board of Regents also approved the recent appointments of Gary James Axen to the full-time, tenure-track position of associate professor of geology with Tech’s Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences and Peng Zhang to the full-time, tenure-track position of assistant professor of chemistry with Tech’s chemistry department.

Tech regents were also told during their meeting that Thomas L. Kieft, professor of biology at New Mexico Tech, had recently been appointed the new department chair of the university’s biology department, replacing longtime biology professor James A. “Al” Smoake in that position.

The New Mexico Tech Board of Regents was further informed by Tech administrators that several recent expenditures of more than $100,000 were made by EMRTC with restricted funds for the purchase of heavy construction machinery, ultra-high-speed cameras, and mock-up test fixtures. In addition, a $370,925 contract for architectural and engineering services for the Magdalena Ridge Observatory also was awarded as part of recent restricted funds expenditures.

Later in the meeting, the regents, acting in their capacity as trustees of the New Mexico Tech Employee Benefit Trust, were presented with a proposal for possible changes to be made next year to the university’s Indemnity and Preferred Provider Option (PPO) health insurance coverage plans. The proposed changes will be outlined on the New Mexico Tech website.