Eastern New Mexico University’s Board of Regents met in the Administration Building on Sept. 27, just before the weekend’s Homecoming festivities to give university updates and discuss new business with guests.
Patricia Jimenez-Latham, director of the Center for the Education and Study of Diverse Populations, and Edward Tabet-Cubero, executive director of Learning Alliance New Mexico, presented information regarding the ruling of the 2018 eight-week trial Yazzie-Martinez v. State of New Mexico. Judge Sarah Singleton ruled on July 20, 2018 that New Mexico students are not provided opportunities needed to succeed in its school systems.
They also said in their presentation that schools do not provide “adequate programs for students to make them college-ready.” The two reported that the State had to comply with the New Mexico Constitution by April 19, 2019. Jimenez-Latham and Tabet-Cubero are advocates for minority education and presented three main points about the education system: New Mexico children have the right to be college- and career-ready, the State violated students’ rights to education and lack of funds is not an excuse to deny students their education.
The Board of Regents also had a potentially exciting proposal pitched to them Friday morning. Jeff Elwell, ENMU system chancellor, and Matthew McKim of regional architecture company Dekker/Perich/Sabatini Architecture proposed renovating Harding Hall. Harding Hall sits northeast across from the Administration Building has been closed for 15 years now. The firm has already conducted a walkthrough of the building and assessed the best plan for moving forward with the potential project.
McKim presented some pros and cons to the renovation. Some potential pros include the overall structure of the building being in good condition, having a strong campus example for modern design moving forward and the building ultimately being vacant.
Student Regent Joseph Gergel said, “So long as student fees are not increased to offset the cost of Harding Hall, I think this is a great project and one I will most likely support. Hopefully we can receive funding from the legislature in the upcoming session if the board votes on continuing the project.”
“I’ll be working with the student government soon to get the students’ overall view on this project and the priority they set on this,” Gergel said. The proposed project would cost an estimated $4 million for the renovation to Harding Hall and an estimated $12 million for a demolition and rebuild.