New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, New Mexico, is adding a new residence hall to the campus. The project was initiated by the First Year Residential Experience and the requirement that first-year NMSU students live on campus. The project broke ground on April 27 at the previous site of Monagle Hall.

“For any project, the day that you break ground, have a contractor on board and are ready for construction to get started, it makes everything real,” said Mary Stills, AIA.  “As architects and designers, it’s fun to work with clients and put construction documents together, but it’s a complete team when the contractor starts working, and for an entire year, we collaborate to ensure each detail is worked out.  We anticipate having the project completed successfully.”

New Residence Hall Groundbreaking at NMSU from Parkhill, Smith & Cooper on Vimeo.

Mary is the project manager for this new residence hall. She said the facility will fulfill the need for 300 additional beds as the university requires students to stay on campus their first year. Incorporating Spanish-Renaissance architecture was another facet to designing this facility. Utilizing this traditional style has been set as a standard during the tenure of Chancellor Garrey Carruthers.

“We started moving forward and doing sketches and designs so we could have a little bit of a modern edge, but really wanted to tie it back to their existing roots,” said Mary. “It’s part of what their campus will be from now on.”

Scott Hendershot, director of housing and residential life, said that planning for this project has been taking place for years with help from faculty, staff and students at NMSU following the decision to require first-year students to live on campus.

“I think for the opportunity that our students are going to have to be living on campus to be a part of the discovery that happens here at New Mexico State,” Scott said, “and also the fact that we’re going to be able to provide them a residence hall that’s new, innovative and brings us into the new century.”

NMSU was initially going to make the private sector responsible for housing, and NMSU Chancellor Garrey Carruthers said after two requests for proposals that NMSU decided to keep the task. The new residence hall will be funded by revenue bonds that will be paid off by students who rent the rooms. He said overall this decision will benefit the university by saving millions of dollars and growing campus life.

“We want students to live on campus,” Garrey said. “To have students live on campus and enjoy student life you have to have the right kind of facilities. This is going to be a brand new facility. I guarantee it will be very popular, and right behind me (Rhodes-Garrett-Hamiel Hall) is the most popular one which is our oldest facility. It has big rooms with high ceilings, and students really love to live in that facility. So this very center of the campus is going to be the most popular residential area we have.”