Work underway at Aggie Memorial Stadium

There were delays. The bids had to be resubmitted. A new, scaled-down plan had to be formulated. Still, despite the setbacks, progress is now a tangible entity. Ground has been broken and construction is currently underway at Aggie Memorial Stadium The scoreboard has been moved from the south end zone to the north as a three-story athletics/education facility begins its climb to the sky. Originally slated to begin last fall, the project is now scheduled to be completed in May 2004.

"They are on schedule and progressing well," NMSU Athletics Director Brian Faison said. "You never know what kind of problems you might run into, but things seem to be on track for it to be finished on time next May." Originally, ground was supposed to be broken last September, with major construction scheduled for November on a four-story facility to be built in the south end zone of the stadium.

NMSU had $6 million earmarked for the project but the lowest bid the university received was in the $7 million range. So NMSU went back to the drawing boards " literally. Faison said a new plan for a three-story building was developed and bids were resubmitted in February. The construction company GenCon got the job and work has begun. Faison said that the project might actually come in under budget.

"I think theyre doing a fine job," said Herb Taylor, NMSUs Associate AD in charge of internal operations. "Weve got the scoreboard moved and the sound system up and operating. That was important because we had to have it ready by August 1." The scoreboard has been moved from the south end zone, where the construction is taking place, to the north.

"We had it painted and re-lettered," Taylor said, "because, when the sun sets in the west, itll hit the scoreboard there and we want people to be able to read it." Taylor said that, although work will continue through the football season, the university has a plan to try and keep fans from being inconvenience. "Well have it fenced off as a construction area," he said.

"Were working with campus police to rearrange the parking (on that side of the stadium)." The new building is expected to house football offices as well as the schools academic support facility and athletics training program. Those facilities are expected to take up space on the first two floors. The third floor was scheduled to hold what Faison originally called a "game-day area." Facing the field, the large open room would be used for pregame festivities for as many as 500 people. During the week, the area would be available for the Varsity Club, and the university envisioned renting the facility for banquets and conferences. A fourth floor was planned to house six sky boxes (which also would be used as conference rooms) and a kitchen that would service the game-day floor. There were also plans for a terrace on the fourth floor. Now, in the scaled-down structure, there will be just three floors.

The project was originally set in motion when Las Vegas businessman Stanley Fulton, who owns Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino, donated $2.2 million to the university. "None of this would have been possible without Stanley Fultons lead gift," Faison said last year. "Itll be a great environment for student recruitment, not just athletics.

On that side of campus, itll become a very important physical element. Itll be used year round." The facility will be built right behind the south end zone. The ground rises with a ramp behind the goal posts leading out into a parking lot. The first floor of the building will be cut into the berm and the second floor will probably be the same level as the concourse

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