Notes from the Dec. 12, 2005 Regents Meeting

by George Zamora

SOCORRO, N.M., Dec. 9, 2005 – The New Mexico Tech Board of Regents, meeting in an emergency telephone conference this morning, has approved the issuance of a $14,150,822 revenue bond by the university to pay for engineering and construction costs involved with entirely replacing the school’s aging hot-water loop system.

The hot-water conveyance system, which consists of a campus-wide grid of large water pipes circulating hot water to various campus buildings for heating and plumbing, is more than 25 years old and over the past few years has experienced a series of recurring breaks along its critical junctures.

The estimated cost of the replacement project is $13 million, but state regulations require a debt service reserve account of $1,150,822 be held in escrow by the issuing agency, the New Mexico Finance Authority, as final payment for the multi-million dollar revenue bond.

“I feel very secure in New Mexico Tech’s ability to meet payments for paying back this bond,” said Tech President Daniel H. López, “but at the same time I’m still holding out hope that we’ll be able to secure state funding for this campus infrastructure project during next month’s session of the State Legislature.”

López explained to regents that New Mexico Tech administrators plan on asking the New Mexico State Legislature to provide capital project funding to cover the cost of the university’s hot-water loop replacement project. If state lawmakers approve the necessary funding, the revenue bond could then be paid off as soon as possible, perhaps even prior to its issuance and sale.

In a related matter, the New Mexico Tech Board of Regents also unanimously approved a contract for engineering services needed to begin designing the hot-water loop replacement project. Bridgers & Paxton Consulting Engineers, Inc. of Albuquerque was chosen by a campus committee as the contractor that will provide those services.