By: Albert Luna
The New Mexico State University Department of Art and University Art Gallery will be getting a drastic face lift in the form of a new two story building.
The project, which was able to get a kick start in the design phase due to some major local fundraising efforts, is being primarily funded through the General Obligation Bond C (GoBondC) that was passed by the state in November.
An update on the development of the project was given at the January 20 Board of Regents meeting by Heather Watenpaugh, University Architect, and Andrea Tawney, Senior Vice President for University Advancement.
“It is a really nice compliment to be able to infuse private dollars into a capital project on our campus” Tawney said, regarding the fundraising efforts, at the meeting, “Construction dollars always stretch thin whenever we’re building; things tend to fall short at the end of this process.”
The building will take the place of the current D.W. Williams Hall, which was initially the first gymnasium that was used for Aggie Basketball up until 1957.
The new building is expected to have new state-of-the-art equipment including labs offices. The second floor will be mainly dedicated to course-specific studios including some for Drawing/Painting, Photography, and Graphic Design.
“The architecture is consistent with the preferred style here [at the University], with the Spanish Renaissance theme” Watenpaugh said.
In addition, the first floor of the building will feature a sizable art gallery as well as additional studios for ceramics, sculpture, and other exterior works, along with the administration.
“We expect a lot of activity from the Art Gallery at night, bringing the community into this building” Watenpaugh said.
The gallery will have an open space design with a main ceremonial staircase featured in the middle. Main architectural designs were formally presented to the Board of Regents at the meeting.
Watenpaugh says that the project is now in the design development phase and, if all documents are in order, construction is expected to begin in January, 2018.
“I would say we expect completion/move-in the Fall of 2019.” The official expected completion is in July of 2019.
Another point that was brought up was the distribution of costs amongst in-state and out of state contract dollars. Watenpaugh reported that over 84 percent of Architectural/Engineering and Construction dollars will be staying within the state.
“The voters [that approved GoBondC] for the state of New Mexico really gives back to the state contract dollars and the state 84 percent of architecture, engineering and construction dollars are staying within the state” Watenpaugh said.
Although GoBondC was only recently approved in November of 2016, allocating over $22 .5 million solely to
the building project, the project is widely ahead of schedule in terms of having schematics already drawn up, in large part to donors.
Tawney says she credits patron Ammu Devasthali who, along with her husband, Ramakrishna, are one of the University’s biggest donors, for leading a group that is raising financial support for the project, having garnered around $800,000 so far.
“We are really hitting the streets now and trying to encourage our business community [to donate], we have a small fundraising committee with the college of Arts and Sciences led by the Dean and their Dean’s Counsel Chair, that will be getting out and really trying to activate the community to participate” Tawney said.
Despite the money that has already been raised from private donations and the bond, Tawney says that there is still roughly $1 million that is still needed, mainly to furnish the building. “Our goal is to raise another $1 million to really outfit it with the appropriate furnishing needs and lab needs that look a little bit different than our typical facilities and labs on campus.”
Tawney said she encourages the community to consider giving towards the project, “We would like to spread the word and if you know anybody interested please share with them the opportunities [that can come from giving to the project].”
To see the presentation in its entirety, visit the Meeting Webcasts tab on the NMSU Board of Regents website.
Legal Editor Yesenia Luna contributed to this report.
Photo by: University Art Gallery