Writer: Layra Nicli
Students in the Engineering Technology and Surveying Engineering Department at New Mexico State University are gaining hands-on experience working towards the restoration of the historic Amador Hotel in Las Cruces.
The students are participating with the restoration by performing structural assessments of the building, preparing drainage analyses and site plans and performing actual traditional building techniques used in historic adobe structures.
“The civil engineering programs and surveying program at NMSU are very hands-on and the students are encouraged to be involved in projects like this one,” said Sonya Cooper, professor of engineering technology. “Students will get the opportunity to see the restoration process and how the different layers are peeled back.”
The hotel was last remodeled as an office building in the 1970s, when most of the original structure and finishes were covered over. This project will return the building to the 1912-period style, the time during which it was a thriving hotel.
“Seniors participating in this project are receiving class credit to accomplish various engineering deliverables such as creating structural as-built drawings, performing structural analyses and creating drainage and site plans.” Cooper said. “All of the work done by the students is carefully checked.” Their work will be turned over to the city, which owns the building.
Cooper is a member of the board trying to get funds to do a complete remodel of the hotel. “We are remodeling room-by-room. Hopefully people will want to sponsor a room renovation,” she said.
Cooper is a member of the Amador Hotel Foundation Board, which is trying to get funds to do a complete restoration of the hotel. “Until then, students and other volunteers are making progress. Hopefully people will see how cool a restored room looks and want to sponsor a room, for example,” she said.
The students are only participating in certain aspects of the restoration and are not taking on the project as a whole. “Once funds become available, the work will be turned over to contractors,” Cooper said. “But we have been able to move forward with the student participation.”
Currently, eight or nine engineering technology and surveying students are participating in the restoration project, most of which are involved in other projects around the community as well.