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You are here: HomeNewsFront Page News ArticlesWNMU Master Plan seeks public input 031914, part 2

WNMU Master Plan seeks public input 031914, part 2

The Western New Mexico University master plan public input continued with more questions from attendees.

Burke Fleming, resident, pointed out the university is thirsty for water. 'Silver City is limited in water, which is the No. 1 thing we have to have. The university wastes a lot of water."

Jason Clark of Studio D Architects in Las Cruces aid Western would be looking at other surfaces for athletic fields. "The Student Memorial Building can be sustainable. It's an evaluation as we go through the process."

"I think we are the highest user of water, even after we took care of the pool leak," WNMU President Joseph Shepard said. "In new bathrooms, we are considering waterless urinals and one-gal flush toilets."

Susie Trujillo said the town has an active trails group and asked if they were involved.

"We are talking about a spur to the Continental Divide Trail to the campus," Shepard said.

Mike Trujillo, county resident, asked if the existing baseball field would accommodate men's baseball. "And what about students who need a technical education?"

Clark said the current field was too small for baseball, but "it can be a topnotch softball field."

Shepard said computer science degrees have seen a decrease in demand, because a lot of the technology has been outsourced to India and Brazil at a fraction of the cost of an American computer programmer. "We're looking at programs that we are best at, and we will still have vocational programs."

Gwyn Jones, town resident, asked if the plan was "doable. Will the university have enough funding? And what about 11th Street?"

"Have you talked to the town about paving 11st Street as a connection to the Child Development facility to alleviate problems on 12th Street?" she asked.

Shepard said the university has "pots of money. Finances for operational use is different from capital outlay. The pool and fitness center are predicated on student fees. We figure the revenue will be about a half million dollars a year to pay off revenue bonds or loans for the pool and fitness center. Yes, the community will be able to use the center for a membership fee, with students using it for free, because their fees are paying for it. We will pay for the loan before we do a student activity center."

Clark said the 11th Street issue was being discussed.

A participant asked about what happens to Eckles Hall and Regents' Row.

"They are going away, but their replacements will be part of Mustang Village and residential life," Clark said.

Scott Terry, Silver City-Grant County Chamber of Commerce president, asked about communication between the university and the community. "And what about Watts Hall?"

Clark said after the renovations from water damage there was space at Watts Hall that could be utilized. "It is an asset that we will be evaluating what goes into it."

Margret Begay of JPPO asked about collaboration with youth. "You could get the YCC (Youth Conservation Corps) involved in creating pathways. And what about the Police Academy?"

Clark said the dog park was another area not be used as an athletic practice field as originally envisioned. "We have assets that are underutilized. We are focused on getting people to the campus." He said the Police Academy was also an issue.

Mike Sauber, resident, asked about goals for energy efficiency.

"It is in the discussion," Clark said. "We are working on the concrete jungle. Light Hall will make the Fine Arts Theatre look terrible. The FACT facility is amazing for such a small town, but it needs attention."

"As part of Phase 2, we are inventorying interiors," Shepard said. "I surmise that the FACT will be a high priority for a future general obligation (GO) bond. Our priority right now is to finish the projects we have started. The FACT is actually a good donor opportunity."

A woman asked about Watts Hall and if there were any other satellite facilities, other than the dog park. that were being considered.

"Right now, we are concentrating on the main campus," Clark said.

The same woman asked about using drainage water for watering the landscaping.

"At Doña Ana Community College, all the rain water is captured off the roofs," Clark said. "But we had 100 days without any rain, so the plants didn't do well. There are always applications that are good in theory, but don't always work."

Begay asked if community members were part of the groups and councils.

"From the Campus Planning Council, some have asked that neighbors be involved," Shepard said.

Mike Metcalf of the Expressive Arts Department said: "As an artist, aesthetics is important. With the architecture and the paving, it needs to be thought about altogether, beginning with College Avenue. I would see the not yet existing Student Union Building as been important to the campus. I also suggest wayfinding in town. Come up with consistent parameters. We need to be having conversations on materials. I want space where people want to stop and congregate. In developing a set of lighting standards and a palette, I would like to see creativity."

Silver City Arts and Cultural District Manager George Julian Dworin asked if thought had been given to educational programs for seniors in the summer.

""We had thought of that, but we did not have residential spaces," Shepard said. "Now we do, but I do not want to take away from the local hotels.

A female said an expanded conversations where the community gets involved is needed.

Clark said with the pathway system, he would like to see quasi-ownership by the community.

Jones congratulated Clark on making sustainability part of the plan, because "there will be financial benefits. I also heard there is a geothermal source under some of the buildings. Will you use that?"

Clark confirmed that there are springs that wreak havoc with buildings. "We are on top of a lot of rock, so I don't know how feasible it is to look for geothermal. For sustainability, we have to be responsible in design."

Susie Trujillo thanked Clark and Shepard for holding the input meeting. "You, Joe, are keeping your promise to us that you would keep up informed and involved."

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