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NMSU Regents approve projects to renovate Jett Hall, Rentfrow Hall, construct skybox

During its regular meeting March 9, the New Mexico State University Board of Regents approved renovations to Jett Hall, including Jett Annex, and Rentfrow Hall using funding from the General Obligation Bond approved by voters last fall. Regents also gave the go-ahead to construction of a new skybox for Aggie Memorial Stadium, funded through a private donation.

Jett Hall and Jett Annex house different departments in NMSU?s College of Engineering. The buildings were constructed in the 1950s, with additions in the 1960s, but haven?t seen any substantial renovations since that time. The approved renovations will cost approximately $17 million.

Rentfrow Hall is the university?s old gymnasium and also was constructed in the 1950s. It houses NMSU?s growing Department of Human Performance and Dance. The project to renovate that facility will cost approximately $2 million.

The skybox approved by Regents will be constructed on the east side of Aggie Memorial Stadium. It will be approximately 2,000 square feet and include an exterior terrace. The project will provide space for the university to entertain visiting university presidents and other guests. The facility is funded by a $1 million donation by Stan Fulton, owner of the Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino.

Since Garrey Carruthers became NMSU president in 2013, nearly all improvements to NMSU athletic facilities have been secured through private funding, including installation of new turf for Aggie Memorial Stadium and renovations to NMSU?s Presley Askew Field.

During the meeting, Regents also approved awarding an honorary degree to Royal Jones, an entrepreneur and philanthropist from Las Cruces. Jones is the owner of more than 14 companies, including Mesilla Valley Transportation, and employs more than 1,100 people.

Carruthers said Jones is strongly committed to NMSU and, in particular, to providing the resources needed for student athletes to be the most competitive in intercollegiate athletics. In 2014, Jones provided a substantial gift to fund the renovation of NMSU?s Coca-Cola Weight Training Center.

As part of the meeting, Carruthers updated Regents on the New Mexico legislative session, including proposed changes to the New Mexico Lottery Scholarship, the state budget, proposed changes to the state?s Inspection of Public Records Act and the state?s whistle blower law. He also briefed Regents about the budget impacts of the recent decline in student enrollment and about a recently completed employee satisfaction survey, conducted by the university?s Office of Institutional Analysis late last year. Full details of the employee satisfaction survey can be found at http://oia.nmsu.edu/ess/.

NMSU Executive Vice President and Provost Dan Howard reviewed advising initiatives across NMSU?s various colleges that the university believes is helping student retention. He also outlined how additional advisers and intervention techniques for students in academic risk could benefit student retention. NMSU Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management Bernadette Montoya reviewed the university?s enrollment numbers for the spring semester and indicated that applications for the fall 2015 semester are up over the same period last year.