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NMSU Regents approve energy performance contract

SANTA FE - At a regular meeting Friday, Jan. 31, in Santa Fe, the New Mexico State University Board of Regents approved an energy performance contract that will save the institution millions of dollars over time.


The guaranteed utility savings contract with Ameresco, an energy services company, will allow NMSU to make energy efficiency upgrades to 46 buildings, totaling 2,701,972 gross square feet. The total project cost of $15,734,306, including $659,459 for the investment-grade audit Ameresco conducted at all NMSU facilities throughout the state, will come at no up-front cost to the university.

The improvements will pay for themselves, over the life of the 13-year contract, as energy savings will exceed total payments, creating a positive cash flow. At the end of the 13-year contract, the university will realize a projected $1.8 million annual savings. The contract will replace obsolete T12 light fixtures with energy efficient T8 fixtures, a project that NMSU would otherwise have to fund.

The Regents also authorized the university to issue bonds to fund the projects.

NMSU President Garrey Carruthers updated the Regents on legislative items. NMSU is supporting the Legislative Finance Committee recommendation for the formula funding model. He said he is pleased with recommendations that are moving forward to date and the university will continue to monitor the progress. The president also introduced NMSU student Jeremy Witte who talked about the Lottery Scholarship legislation being proposed. The Associated Students of NMSU is working with the student governments at other institutions to present a collective student voice statewide.

In other business, the Regents heard updates on the NMSU Foundation and the NMSU Athletics Department.

Tina Byford, interim vice president for university advancement and president of the NMSU Foundation, highlighted the work of the Alumni Association, which has seen a 21 percent increase in lifetime membership. The association has 49 chapters and interest groups and hosted 136 events in 2013. Byford also discussed the growth in the Foundation's endowment pool, which was valued at $147.9 million as of December 2013. The Foundation also experienced a successful year in fundraising in 2013, through December the total cash gifts, gifts-in-kind and pledges are up 79 percent.

Athletics Director McKinley Boston gave an annual update on athletics highlighting the progress on the strategic plan in the last six years, including winning 16 WAC Team Championships, a 73 percent graduation rate among student-athletes and the successful community service of student athletes, who have completed more than 5,000 community service hours. Boston said moving forward the department will focus on athletic competition, academics and citizenship for student-athletes, community engagement and revenue growth.

The board presented the Above & Beyond Award to Christina Turner, county Extension 4-H agent for Santa Fe County. The Above & Beyond Award recognizes full-time employees who go the extra distance in service to any and all aspects of the NMSU system. Individuals are recognized for performance that goes "above and beyond" their regular responsibilities and for demonstrating a positive attitude that inspires others.

Turner's program serves about 200 traditional 4-H members and more than 100 volunteer leaders. Her responsibilities include everything from livestock and judging programs, to shooting sports, to youth leadership teams. Turner also delivers special interest programs and school enrichment programs focusing on agriculture and natural resources.

"Christina Turner is a superb example of the positive impact a county Extension agent can have in the community. She can always be counted on to go the 'extra' mile to provide assistance to an individual, the community or the organization," said Jon Boren, director of NMSU's Cooperative Extension Service, in his nomination letter. "Her dedication, sense of responsibility and commitment are evident in her programming. In 2013, 2,594 youth participated in 4-H youth development programming efforts. Of these, 2,264 youth participated in school enrichment programs and 136 youth participated in special interest programs."