The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Regent: Final house design coming soon


November 3, 2019

PORTALES — They’re close, but only close enough to talk about how close they are.

The process of a final design for a new presidential residence at Eastern New Mexico University is moving slowly but surely, Regent Terry Othick said during the board’s Friday meeting.

The 3,500-square foot house would include a private space for a four-person family, a public space for events and ideally match the design of other buildings on campus.

The regents have a $650,000 award from state capital outlay to build the house, but Othick noted the money comes with several strings that an average home doesn’t, like a requirement to pay state prevailing wage that increases costs by roughly 15%.

Othick said a final design would be coming soon, with hopes a contractor can build the house inside the $650,000 range.

In other business at the Friday meeting:

• Regents approved a change in policy to allow alcohol on campus should the university receive approval for a governmental liquor license, and a change in policy to allow alcohol at the presidential residence in the interim.

Chancellor and Portales campus President Jeff Elwell said it’s always been an understood rule that the presidential residence was an exception to the school’s dry campus policy, but counsel couldn’t find anything on the books to codify that understanding.

A public hearing for the governmental liquor license is set for the Tuesday Portales City Council meeting.

n The regents noted intent to create a spouse travel policy for the college, but wanted administration to have a chance to weigh in before it’s drafted for the December meeting.

Regents discussed either having a reimbursement policy in place that required documentation of how the expense helped the school, or possibly having the parameters for spousal travel addressed in individual contracts.

Currently, spousal travel reimbursements must be requested in advance and be approved by Elwell, or Vice President of Business Affairs Scott Smart if the requests come from Elwell’s spouse, Edwina Gower.

“I think Edwina does great things for the university,” Regent Lance Pyle said, “but we’ve got to document how that’s going to be handled.”

• The board tabled approval of its holiday schedule for the 2020-21 year, with the intent to add Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a holiday for students.

The university had in previous years started the spring semester on the Tuesday following MLK Day, but that led to a lack of on-campus activities honoring King because most students didn’t show up to campus until the next day.

Kyanna Walton, part of an effort to create a Black Student Union on campus, said it was worth a day to honor King, and it would be acceptable if the university marked a day other than a Monday for that purpose if necessary.

Pyle moved to submit the holiday calendar trading the President’s Day holiday for MLK Day, but it died without a second.

• During a discussion of a potential renovation of Harding Hall into a welcome center, Smart noted the university probably needs a campus master plan.

Pyle asked if the state might pay for such an endeavor. Regent Dan Patterson was doubtful, but said a master plan could increase the likelihood a long-planned project is funded.

ENMU-Ruidoso President Ryan Carstens said at a prior institution, a master plan was necessary when a highway project forced building relocations, and that plan helped set the college’s values.

• Regents met for about 30 minutes in executive session to discuss one personnel matter and the former Greyhound Stadium property.

Elwell said the university received no bids for the former stadium between Portales and Clovis, and part of the executive session was dedicated to what to do if somebody does make an offer down the road.

• The next meeting is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Dec. 13.


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