Regents discuss capital outlay, infrastructure needs

Multiple topics were discussed at the Eastern New Mexico University Board of Regents workshop on March 15 in Santa Fe, including capital outlay funds.

ENMU President Jeff Elwell said through capital outlay, ENMU was funded $650,000 for a new presidential residence, $750,000 for the Greyhound Arena roof. $700,000 for other campus infrastructure, $250,000 for KENW equipment, $135,000 for physical plant equipment, and $66,000 for the blue light emergency system expansion.

Elwell said regents discussed how positive things could stem from the teacher education incentive bill, called the Greyhound Promise. The bill was funded under House Bill 2 Junior, which is not used often. The funds for the bill are left over money senators and representatives are granted and is a means of getting more students to go into public education and teach in New Mexico schools.

A raise in minimum wage was discussed and how it will impact student employees. Minimum wage will be raised to $9.25 an hour next year. Elwell said workers will still get the same amount of pay in their check, but they will likely work less hours, so the increase will not hurt the students financially, but ENMU offices will not have as many hours covered.

The following were other topics discussed in the workshop:

  • Appropriations will go up by a little over $1 million annually from the state. Last year, it was 2.4 percent, and it was 2.3 percent this year.

  • An alternative energy program to bring more renewable energy to campus, which will be proposed in the March 29 meeting in Ruidoso.

  • Student recruiting and retention issues were discussed. The board of regents want enrollment services to give a presentation on what things they are trying to improve, since this year saw a lower number of freshmen enrolled. The board of regents wants to know what enrollment services is planning to do. During the last meeting, it was discussed what has already been done, such as the Raise Me Platform, which is a website that asks questions about what type of school a student is interested in and shows potential students what schools best fits their needs. It helps students and their parents be more knowledgeable consumers, which will help get more out-of-state students, according to Elwell.

  • From a survey conducted by Survey Monkey, other concerns were brought up about different facilities on campus that might need some work. During the April meeting, regents will tour the campus to look at the different facilities to put them in priority of which buildings need the most work and have more immediate needs.

  • Athletic budget issues were discussed since ENMU is in the lower quartile in the budget. The university added new sports to increase enrollment at one point and time, according to Elwell, but that meant more costs for uniforms, officials, etc. He said regents have put in a request for money for Research Projects Special Projects (RPSP) funding, which is what athletics, KENW, and Blackwater Draw Museum fall under. The state should be putting in $241,000 for athletics, if the bill is not vetoed. This will cover insurance premiums for the athletic department, which went up $53,000 last year.

  • Gender equity in ENMU athletics was also discussed, with regents wanting to make sure that there is a more even budget balance for male and female sports, because historically, male athletic teams have received a higher budget.

The next board of regents meeting will be at 1 p.m. March 29 at the Ruidoso campus.

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