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ENMU officials hope for liquor license by end of October


September 8, 2019

PORTALES — If all goes according to plan, Eastern New Mexico University hopes to have a liquor license for its Portales campus granted by the end of October.

That was the timeline shared by Jeff Elwell, ENMU system chancellor and Portales campus president, as the university’s board of regents work session Saturday morning at the college’s administration building.

With the meeting designated as a work session, no actions were taken during the hour of open meeting, or following the 75-minute executive session to discuss property matters and pending or threatened litigation.

The university posted a sign on its Campus Union Building last month notice of its intent to seek the liquor license, primarily for the ability to serve alcoholic beverages at banquets and weddings that may be hosted on university grounds. Elwell said the signs were posted until Sept. 2, and the next step is to seek authorization through the Portales City Council. The matter has to be discussed in two meetings, with the hope that a public hearing followed by an up-or-down vote.

Elwell said there were initial concerns because the entire ENMU campus is zoned as a residential area, but he’s since been told by counsel that the university was not subject to city zoning laws.

Board President Ed Tatum said the city council would be required to vote, and anybody wishing to protest the decision could do so via lawsuit within 30 days. The license can’t be voted down over issues of morality, Tatum noted.

The regents were also notified on a delay in roof repair work at Greyhound Arena. Elwell said during the recent pre-bid meeting, one vendor threatened a protest of the request for proposal process because a clause requiring the roof to be “fiber-type roofing product or its equivalent” made it a sole-source process because only one vendor had that capability. Elwell said the RFP is being rewritten to assuage those concerns.

“They’re not sure (a protest) would be successful,” Elwell said, “but to avoid the possibility of that, they’re adjusting the language.”

Regents wanted to keep that language in, with Tatum arguing the “or its equivalent” portion gave vendors a chance to argue why their product was a better choice.

Regent Dan Patterson found it hard to believe only one vendor could do the work, noting, “you’ve got domes like this all over the country, and there’s not just one company doing them.”

If the university had to go to court over it, Patterson said that might be worth the fight to get the roof the college wants.

“If somebody’s dissatisfied because they didn’t get the job,” Patterson said, “too bad.”

Elwell said the plan is to start the work in March, and have it finished before commencement ceremonies in May.

In other business at the meeting:

• ENMU-Roswell President Shawn Powell updated the board on various projects on his campus.

The college plans to much of a $10.5 million project for its automotive/welding building and physical plant building through reserves, and $3 million in general obligation bond money. He hopes to have the project to the regents for final approval in their Dec. 11 meeting.

Powell said Grancor is handling a demolition of a two-story dormitory for $248,000. He was unsure on the spot about square footage, but said the dormitory would fit 60 to 80 beds.

The campus has $1.2 million from the state to work on electrical line replacement on the campus. There is no redundancy in the old wiring system, and a fuse blowout a few Mondays ago meant the campus closed rather than make people work inside on a 107-degree day. The bid for the main electrical work is around $800,000, Powell said, and the college has the latitude to use remaining dollars on the electrical systems for the automotive and physical plant buildings.

• The regents are scheduled to meet again 9 a.m. Sept. 27.


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