UNM's Clark Hall will be getting an overhaul

By Avicra Luckey / CJ 475 Reporter
Posted Dec. 6, 2012

Leaky plumbing, shoddy ventilation and outdated equipment are just a few things University of New Mexico (UNM) students taking courses in Clark Hall have had to put up with.

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By Avicra Luckey

Chemistry professors talk about issues with Clark Hall.

Christina Gallegos, chemistry minor at UNM, said the undesirable conditions and lack of access to up-to-date equipment means students may graduate with less of a competitive edge.

"If you're going into a lab type of setting for a job later and someone already knows this equipment, of course they're going to want someone who knows the newer equipment and not necessarily the old stuff," she said. "I think that is something that's a little scary now with the job (search)."

UNM will be the recipient of $19 million to renovate Clark and Castetter Halls.

Chair of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at UNM Stephen Cabaniss said Clark Hall was built in 1952, but doesn't function well for today's research. Professors and aspiring chemists and some of the fundamental structures of the building aren't faring well after 60 years of use, which he said also gets in the way of learning in the facility.

"We've had to replace parts of the air-handling system, (but) even with replacements made, parts of it are still considered unacceptable according to modern safety," he said.

K. Joseph Ho, director of Chemical Education at UNM, said the problem is particularly bad in the labs used by upper-division students.

"In the past the department has been able to raise a small amount of money to do the necessary repairs, so we can have basic safety (standards)," he said. "I'm hoping that we can completely replace the venting system."

Cabaniss said the department is still in the very beginning stages of planning and renovation could include anything from classroom changes to facade changes. He said the upgrades should be finished by spring 2014.