Writer: Damien Willis , Las Cruces Sun-News6:37 p.m. MT Jan. 7, 2017
LAS CRUCES – Several construction projects at New Mexico State University are nearing completion. University officials say the improvements will create new opportunities for students and faculty for years to come.
Major remodeling projects at Jett Hall and Rentfrow Gym, funded by the 2014 General Obligation Bond, are nearly finished, according to Glen Haubold, the university’s associate vice president for Facilities and Services. Demolition of Monagle Hall — formerly the Women’s Residence Center — is about 50 percent complete.
Jett Hall: Remodeled for research
A major remodel on Jett Hall, which houses different departments in the university’s College of Engineering but has been vacant for renovations since May 2015, is expected to be complete by the end of June, in time for summer classes.
“We are in the finishing-out stages,” said Alton Looney, executive director of project development and engineering. “We’re going in, turning on lights, turning on heat. We’re in the final phase of that project.”
Jett Hall, on the south side of the Horseshoe, was built in two stages. The first part was completed in 1956; the rest of the building, as it stands, was finished in 1965.
“The utilities are that old,” Looney said. “At some point, you just have to go back in there and rebuild the utilities. Beyond that, our goal was to redesign it so that we could accommodate research changes in a short period of time.”
The building houses many of the university’s research labs, which often need to be modified quickly to meet the needs of researchers.
“If you’ve got a researcher who gets a grant, and needs his research lab to be a certain way to begin his research, we’re going to be able to do it in a really short period of time,” Looney said. “As we approached the renovation, that was one of our primary goals.”
Haubold said universities, by and large, are not known for innovative uses of shared spaces. With the redesign of Jett Hall, he hopes to buck that trend.
“We’ve built this so that researchers can better share spaces, but also with the idea that, when one research grant expires, the space can be easily converted to meet the needs of another researcher,” Haubold said.