Campus News - March 12, 2001

Spotlight

Henrard wears many hats as architect planner for HSC

By Veronica Valencia

By the time Rick Henrard was in the fifth grade, he was already designing homes. He was as interested in plans and elevations as his friends were in Hotwheels.

Architecture was his passion and still is -- only now he’s taken on projects of a much grander scale as an architect planner at the UNM Health Sciences Center.

As a registered architect, Henrard coordinates construction and moves that fit with the strategic plan on the North Campus. Anything from moving a single employee to moving whole departments can be organized by Henrard and the team of five at HSC Facilities Planning.

“It’s a broad and diverse scope of work,” he said. “We do everything from relocating a door for handicap compliance to the office layout of a multi-million dollar building.”

Some of the construction projects Henrard has been behind include the HSC Library, the New Mexico Poison Control Center and the UNM Cancer Research Facility. These projects can take anywhere from a few months to several years, depending on planning, approvals, funding, construction, lead times and occupancy. In 2000, about 82 projects were completed on the North Campus by HSC Facilities Planning.

While color schemes, carpet and new furniture are the aesthetic aspects of some projects, Henrard often has to wear many different hats to get the job done. He said facilities planners have to have knowledge of the building and campus infrastructure as well as maintenance, telecommunications and even accounting.

“Sometimes I even put on my fireman’s hat because I’m constantly putting out all types of fires around here,” he jokes.
In an effort to expedite obtaining permits for various jobs, he volunteered and was supported by the HSC to take classes and the test to become a licensed general contractor for UNM.

Henrard brings 13 years of experience to UNM. As an architect in the private sector, he was the project manager and designed such projects as the Lovelace Emergency Room in Albuquerque and the Midtown Ambulatory Surgery Center in Memphis, Tenn.

“We as architects are the hands, the eyes and the ears of the user group. We design to their functional needs,” he said. “ The project may be an aesthetic marvel, but if it doesn’t function then it’s not a success.”

When time allows, and he’s not behind his desk with blueprints and fabric samples in front of him, he can be found running the north golf course or working out in the Biomedical Research Facility gym on his lunch hour.

“I have to balance out the stress and help take my mind off all my work. By exercising at lunch, I get some good energy for the afternoon,” he said.

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