Regents OK Natatorium renovation plans

By Karl Terry: Freedom New Mexico

A $1.5 million renovation of Eastern New Mexico University’s natatorium received formal approval Friday from the board of regents at their regular meeting.

Scott Smart, vice president for Business Affairs at ENMU, told regents an inadequate heating and cooling system installed when it was built in 1958 has resulted in chlorine from the pool evaporating and causing rust and corrosion problems in various parts of the facility.

He said the 12,123-square-foot facility will require a new roof, windows, pool decking, HVAC upgrade and renovation of the locker room and shower facilities. In addition an enclosed patio for sunbathers will be built. No repairs to the pool itself are planned.

“In 1957, they had a student body election and they approved a $10 a year fee added to tuition to fund it (the natatorium),” Regent Marshall Stinnett commented. “That’s where it came from.”

“It was a great facility in (1958), but it needs some work now,” Regents President Jay Gurley said.

Regent Pauline Ponce agreed it was time to get the project done because construction costs will continue to rise.

Half the project will be funded by a bond passed several years ago. The other half will be funded through a capital request to the state.
Smart said he expects to have bids within a month and figures construction could start as soon as December.

Classes and groups using the facility have been notified of the impending construction, Smart said.

In other business the board of regents:
• Approved a set of clearing accounts to be set up with Bank of America to process money for the new student housing facility through for the Roswell campus. Smart said he’s not sure yet if the Portales campus will need to do the same thing.
• Approved a roofing contract for buildings on the Roswell campus.
• Approved a memorandum of understanding between ENMU-Roswell, the regents and the ENMU-Roswell Foundation outlining the relationship and responsibilities the three have between them.
• Approved a research and public service project directed at bolstering the athletics budget because of increases in insurance, travel and field maintenance costs.