August 11, 2011 by Mark Cramer NMSU News Center
As New Mexico State University faculty, students and their families return to campus to begin the fall 2011 semester, they may notice a bit of orange coloring the campus, along with the traditional crimson and white – orange as in the color of traffic barrels and construction signs.
Several campus projects got under way shortly after the spring 2011 semester ended, since working during the summer would minimize congestion and inconvenience to the campus community. However, the scope of the work means that some of it will be ongoing throughout the fall and even into spring 2012. The work has led and will continue to lead to campus detours and road and parking lot closures.
Chief among the projects at hand is construction of a new chilled water system satellite plant and the necessary piping that goes with it. The increase in chilled water production capacity through the addition of a secondary plant assures that the university’s air-conditioning needs will continue to be met in an efficient fashion as the campus continues to grow.
The new plant is being constructed near the campus Natatorium and track, by Stewart Street and Breland Drive. As a result of the construction, the large parking lot on Stewart, between Breland and Williams Avenue next to the natatorium, (see space between lot 48 and lot 100S on the NMSU parking map at http://nmsuparking.com/Map2010.pdf), has been closed until the plant is completed in spring 2012.
In addition to plant construction, new, larger piping to transport the chilled water throughout campus is being installed. The eastern portion of lot 48 also will be closed for a time in early September to complete piping to the plant. From Aug. 10-Sept. 1, Breland Drive will be closed between Stewart Street and McFie Circle; as part of this work, faculty/staff parking lots 45 and 17 will be closed from Aug. 10-17. Lot 47, next to the Health Center, will be closed as well, until excavation is complete.
While work continues along Jordan Street, the street will be open via temporary drive lanes, as will visitor parking lot 17S (next to Corbett Center); however, due to the heavy construction activity, visitors are cautioned to be aware of ongoing work and traffic pattern changes. Activity should be completed by Aug. 17.
From Aug. 20-Sept. 9, Williams Avenue will be closed between Stewart Street and Frenger Court. This will affect visitor lot 49 and faculty/staff lots 50 and 52; faculty/staff lot 54, at the northwest corner of Williams Avenue and Stewart Street, will temporarily close as well.
The addition of two outer lanes to Arrowhead Drive, as well as all associated utilities, has been completed, so students, faculty and staff attending the new Arrowhead Early College High School should experience no delays or detours when classes begin Aug. 15.
None of this work should negatively impact traffic flow or accessibility for NMSU football’s home opener against Ohio, set for 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 3.
To assist faculty, staff, students and visitors to campus make alternate plans for accessing campus while the chilled water plant and piping and other projects continue, OFS has developed an interactive map detailing the impact areas of these projects, available at http://www.ofs.nmsu.edu/project_construction_map.html. The page features a Google Earth view of campus, with red lines highlighting streets and pedestrian areas that will be closed at some point. Flag buttons on the map, when clicked on, reveal details about that particular phase of construction via a pop-up window. The window contains information on scheduled construction dates for that phase, closures necessary due to the work, how the area may be otherwise accessed, and other notes.
The map is updated weekly, and the campus population and visitors are urged to check back regularly for the latest detour and closure information, to avoid any confusion or travel setbacks. Dates for parking closures and street detours are always tentative.