Hard hats hit campus

May 7, 2010 by Avra Elliott NMSU Round Up

Some university projects completed while others get underway

When students return in the fall there will be new additions and buildings to greet them on campus, said the New Mexico State University architect and director.

The Health and Services building, the Native American Cultural Center and Gardiner Hall are scheduled for completion during the summer and should be open and functioning by the fall semester, NMSU Architect and Director Michael Rickenbaker said. Rickenbaker said the addition to the Aggie Memorial Stadium will be ready for use when the season starts.

“It’s nice to start a semester off with new buildings,” Rickenbaker said.

Rickenbaker said working hours were restricted on the Native American Cultural Center during the semester.

“You don’t want a road grader running while people are asleep,” Rickenbaker said, adding it is best to work during the summer when the pedestrian traffic is low.

Gardiner Hall will be checked during the summer to ensure the air conditioning will work in the fall and also is being registered as LEED silver through the US Green Building Council.

“We’ve got a lot finishing this summer,” Rickenbaker said.

Several projects will begin in the summer as well.

The Arts Complex will go into phase one, which includes utility relocations, during the summer. Rickenbaker said the cost of the Arts Complex will be the largest on campus at $37.5 million. The complex is scheduled to be finished in the summer 2012.

Work will begin on the second phase of Chamisa Village where the courtyards will now be more open.

Work also will begin on the new bookstore. This project includes the bookstore, two small shops and the auxiliary and parking services offices.

“It’s a significant start to the new entrance to campus,” Rickenbaker said.

Construction on the Arts Complex, bookstore and Chamisa Village will continue into the fall.

“We, as a campus, tend to deal better if we start the semester with the change,” Rickenbaker said, explaining that students know early on to find new routes to class if an area is blocked.

Most roads will be open and Rickenbaker said the campus will be notified if roads need to be closed during sensitive construction.

“There will be some disruption; there always is,” Rickenbaker said. “We target the summer to begin construction because it’s your loudest and most invasive then.”

Rickenbaker said there are a handful of days when a site is shut down in the summer due to heat, but usually there is enough shade for the workers.

“Our contractors know how to work in this weather,” Rickenbaker said.

He said the advantage to working in Las Cruces was that mild winters allow year-round work to finish projects.

“They are all great projects and we’re looking forward to getting them open,” Rickenbaker said.

Avra Elliott is a staff writer and can be contacted at trunews@nmsu.edu.

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