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Your faculty and staff news since 1965
February 14, 2005
Volume 40, Number 7

Construction projects underway across campus


By Allie Thompson

With large construction projects like a new building for the School of Architecture and Planning and the Lobo Center business facility expansion, the university is gearing up for one of the biggest years of construction in its history.

Crew members from RMCI General Contractors prepare for a slab pour in the North Diversion Channel.
The extension of the North Diversion Channel located along Camino de Salud on north campus is well underway. Box culverts will be installed along the AMAFCA channel, recapturing 0.7 acres of land. Upon completion of phase I in mid-May, the land will be used as a lay-down yard for the Children’s Hospital and Critical Care Pavilion, recently named the Barbara and Bill Richardson Pavilion (BABRP).

The second phase of this important project will create a new entry into the UNM hospitals. The scope of the work includes expansion and reconfiguration of the Yale-Camino de Salud interchange, widening Yale north to Camino de Salud and moving Camino de Salud south over the area created by the box culvert project.

Lobo Center plan consolidates administration

Employees have seen the demolition in progress at the Lobo Center on the southeast corner of University and Lomas, but the new look for the replacement building has not been rolled out because the new center is a design-build construction effort. The design is in process at the same time as construction demolition. Final decisions about aesthetics are being made now.

The demolition will leave the Human Resources area and the speech and hearing academic unit intact. The new building, a three-story, 68,500 sq. ft. office space, will go up around them.

Most other units to be housed in the new building are supervised by the comptroller.

“We are trying to consolidate administrative units into one building to improve our efficiency and communication,” says Andrew Cullen, the University Budgets Administrator. “We also need to free space in Scholes Hall, so that it can become an executive facility.” As envisioned under current plans, Scholes Hall will house all of the university’s executive leadership group, with the exception of Health Sciences.

The $10.8 million cost of the new Lobo Center is financed through a loan from the Sandia Foundation, which will own the building and lease it to the university on a lease/purchase agreement.

Cullen says this alternate financing process was needed because the New Mexico Legislature, while very receptive to building classroom space, has been historically reluctant to invest in administration buildings. The project will allow units now scattered through six buildings across campus to work in the same structure.

Highlights of the project include a new pedestrian walkway and extension of the existing bike trail. The project will minimally impact parking, but will temporarily close Camino de Salud. For more information on BABRP, visit http://hospitals.unm.edu/BBRPavilion/Index.shtml.

The electrical upgrade phase III project is now 33 percent complete. The project will affect various buildings (planned power outages) throughout main campus, as portions of the existing site electrical distribution system are upgraded to the newer and more reliable 12.47kV system. To date, the project has impacted the following buildings: University House, Student Services Center, Mesa Vista Hall, Student Health Center, Johnson Center, Zimmerman Library, Bandelier, EECE/Centennial Library, Anthropology Annex and the area near the tennis courts. The electrical upgrade project will next move to Scholes Hall and require after-hours power outages presently being scheduled through June by the Physical Plant Department.

The Lobo Center business facility expansion project will construct a three-story, 70,000 square foot building in place of the space that previously housed Belew’s Office Supply and UNM Press.

Construction of the $10.8 million business facility began in early January. When construction is complete on the Lobo Center in December, general accounting, payroll, purchasing, accounts payable and human resources will occupy the facility. An estimated 200 employees will move to the new space, consolidating a portion the university’s business operations. In conjunction with the expansion project, phase II of Speech and Hearing Services will also be completed.

The groundbreaking for the $16.5 million School of Architecture and Planning and Fine Arts and Design Library is scheduled to take place when the legislative session ends.

The facility will be located at what is currently the visitors parking lot, just east of the UNM Bookstore. Plans for the building include five stories and more than 98,000 sq. ft.
For up-to-date information on all major UNM construction projects, power outages and related issues, visit the Way To Go website at www.unm.edu/waytogo.