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Your faculty and staff news since 1965
March 14, 2005
Volume 40, Number 8

Getty funds UNM heritage survey

By Carolyn Gonzales

The UNM campus changes constantly. Trees that make up the campus arboretum are removed and new ones planted. Windows and doors have been replaced with more secure, energy efficient ones. Buildings were wired to accommodate computer connectivity. Lighting fixtures have been replaced. Some UNM buildings have been torn down, while others, acclaimed for their Pueblo Revival Style, show signs of aging. The need for additional building space keeps growing.

UNM recently received a $120,000 Getty Campus Heritage Grant to prepare a university conservation plan. President Louis Caldera and the Development Office are co-applicants on the grant. UNM archivist Terry Gugliotta is principle investigator. Gugliotta also chairs the campus preservation committee, which oversees the project. The committee hired former state historic preservation officer Elmo Baca to direct the campus field survey and archival research.

The committee, established by the board of regents three years ago, will conduct a systematic evaluation of campus architecture for historical significance, said Chris Wilson, J.B. Jackson professor of cultural landscape studies and committee member representing the School of Architecture and Planning.

Committee members, armed with UNM, state and federal forms to document cultural properties and historic places, have been casing classrooms, looking into labs, peering at portals and scanning the landscape for architectural detail, defining characteristics and distinctive landscape architecture.

“Each building constructed before 1970 will be surveyed. The history of it will be researched, checking its current features against original plans. Oral histories of former students, faculty and administrators will be conducted to gain an understanding about the life and use of the building,” Gugliotta said. A Geographic Information Survey, or GIS map, is also planned either through fundraising or with project funds.

Gugliotta said that such changes as replacing old windows with modern aluminum or double pane windows compromise the building’s eligibility for placement on the National Historic Register. “If, however, they are replaced with replica windows, the building would still be eligible,” she said.

An end product of the grant is to compile a manual for Physical Plant workers so that when they are doing building maintenance or remodel work, they will have preservation guidelines for building features.

“That way, they will know not to paint over historic woodwork or concrete detail,” Gugliotta said.

With an educational component a provision of the grant, Wilson and Baca will co-teach a course, historic community research, this fall. Their students will conduct surveys of the buildings in the quadrant of campus designated Area 3 by the Physical Plant.

“In addition to learning the techniques and resources used to conduct historic surveys, the students will learn about historic preservation issues on university campuses in the context of UNM’s concerns, including construction budgets and funding formulas that don’t include preservation,” Wilson said.

Gugliotta said that conducting a furniture inventory is another outcome the committee is pursuing.

“UNM owns furniture that is genuinely valuable. Because furniture frequently moves with people, it’s hard to note its provenance. We want to tag all significant pieces and track them,” she said.

Gugliotta counts as examples WPA era furniture, 60s era chairs from the old SUB, and the library’s old 1937 Anderson Room chairs sitting in storage in need of repair as a few of UNM’s holdings in need of documentation and tracking.