Roosevelt Hall among campus priorities

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The top priority in Eastern New Mexico University’s five-year capital improvement plan is to renovate Roosevelt Hall.

The plans the university has for Roosevelt Hall are to replace the heating/cooling as well as electrical problems in the building.

“Part of the building’s cooling is a swamp cooler, while the other is refrigerated air. It just doesn’t mix well,” said Scott Smart, ENMU chief financial officer.

Smart said the building often has temperature problems, and the building is cold during the winter and hot during the summer.

Roosevelt Hall was originally constructed in 1953 as a men’s residence hall. In 1973, the 42,290-square foot building was repurposed into a science and research facility. The building is home to the Miles and Minerals Museum, which features a large collection of insects, plants, and animals native to New Mexico and West Texas. The museum is visited frequently by science classes as well as public school children.

University President Jeff Elwell said in the last year and a half, the building has experienced five false alarm fire drills, because the top floor of the building gets too hot and sets off sensors, indicating a fire and sending a warning to the Portales Fire Department.

Along with replacement of the heating and cooling, a refresh of all the interior finishes within the facility will be done, replacement of windows, replacement of the roof, upgraded fire alarm system and other infrastructure systems, and removal of asbestos.

The university anticipates that the project will take $17 million to complete. The university plans to provide a $1 million match towards the cost of the project, with another $8 million coming from the General Obligation Bond voted on in the November 2018 elections. The university seeks to receive another $8 million from the GOB of 2020 for phase two of the project.

Elwell said the Bond can only be used on academic buildings, with other buildings needing to be funded privately or through donations.

Smart and Elwell said if the university doesn’t receive the other $8 million in 2020 for the project, Roosevelt Hall will still get some improvements. They said the improvements could also affect the enrollment rate as they will allow the building to be more appealing to those potentially seeking a science degree at ENMU.

Smart and Elwell said they estimate construction on Roosevelt Hall will begin in June 2021.

Multiple other buildings will also be renovated as part of the capital improvement plan, such as the Human Science building (formerly known as Family and Consumer Science building), the College of Business, the Student Academic Services and Eddy Hall, among others.

All improvements are estimated to happen in the next five years.

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