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NMSU’s new Pete V. Domenici Hall sets grand opening on Sept. 17

Construction crews are putting the finishing touches on New Mexico State University’s newest building, Pete V. Domenici Hall, and a grand opening reception is slated for next month.

Exterior of Pete V. Domenici Hall
Construction of Pete V. Domenici Hall at New Mexico State University is nearly complete. The university will host a grand opening reception at 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 17 as part of the Domenici Public Policy Conference hosted by NMSU. (NMSU photo by Darren Phillips)
Artist’s rendering of Pete V. Domenici Hall
An artist's rendering of the exterior of Pete V. Domenici Hall at New Mexico State University. (Image courtesy of Van H. Gilbert Architect PC)

The reception will take place on Wednesday, Sept. 17, at the building, which is located at 3014 McFie Circle, in the center of campus. Doors will open at 4:30 p.m., and the program will begin at 5:15 p.m. The grand opening festivities are part of the 2014 Domenici Public Policy Conference, set for Sept. 17 and 18 at the Las Cruces Convention Center, 680 E. University Ave.

Crews broke ground on the project in April 2013, repurposing and expanding the university’s Hershel Zohn Theatre to become the 40,000-square-foot Pete V. Domenici Hall. The Hershel Zohn building was originally home to NMSU’s theater arts program, which moved to the university’s new Center for the Arts building at the corner of University Avenue and Espina Street in December 2012.

Pete V. Domenici Hall will have one of the few large auditoriums on campus, funded through a significant contribution from the PY Foundation, led by Peyton Yates of Artesia, in honor of his parents. Yates served as an Executive in Residence in NMSU’s College of Business and received an honorary doctorate from NMSU in 2010. The S.P. and Estelle Yates Theater will seat about 240 people, and feature equipment and connectivity to allow for seamless integration of learning technology in the classroom.

The El Paso Electric Classroom is equipped for advanced, high-definition video conferencing, allowing students enrolled in online courses to have the same real-time learning experience as their classmates attending in person.

College of Business alum Bobby Lutz, who is also a former Executive in Residence, and his wife, Rebecca, contributed to a main floor lecture hall with fully automated touch panel control and the same smart setup podium as will be found in the Yates Theater. The Rebecca and Bobby Lutz Lecture Hall is connected to the Yates Theater to allow it to serve as overflow seating for that auditorium.

The couple’s business, G.L. Seaman & Company, worked with NMSU to design several lounge and study areas in the main and upper floor atrium spaces to benefit students. The company then supplied and delivered all of the furniture as an in-kind donation.

Pete V. Domenici Hall is the third building in the College of Business, and Dean Jim Hoffman said the state-of-the-art facility presents exciting opportunities, particularly for the business graduate students, who’ll have office space that wasn’t available before.

“This is the kind of environment where students can connect to the tools that will enhance their learning,” he said. “The graduate students and faculty members moving in here will have a space that’s beautiful and functional.”

While occupants will begin moving in this month, classes will begin in the building in the spring semester. During the fall, classrooms and other spaces in the building will be used for meetings, seminars and other events.

The building will also house the Domenici Institute for Public Policy, named for retired U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici and founded in 2008. The institute hosts an annual public policy conference and various public policy forums and sponsors public policy research projects. Its mission is to deliver timely scientific analyses and educational opportunities to frame the debate and development of public policy.

NMSU President Garrey Carruthers, who is director of the Domenici Institute and a former dean of the College of Business, said the building’s significance is more than just high-tech bricks and mortar.

“This building honors the legacy of Senator Domenici and all he’s contributed to New Mexico and to our university,” Carruthers said. “He’s meant a great deal to our state and its people.”

Funding for Pete V. Domenici Hall comes from a combination of federal, state and private funds, including a gift of $1 million from Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino owner and NMSU supporter Stan Fulton earlier this year that helped fund completion of the building’s construction. Final cost of the project is estimated at just over $12.6 million.

The NMSU Art Department designed a display in the building’s atrium that will recognize donors to the College of Business “500 for $500” fundraising campaign, and will be unveiled at the September reception.

The public is welcome at the reception, and there is no charge to attend, but an RSVP is requested by Sept. 12. To RSVP, call 575-646-5085 or email presevents@nmsu.edu.

For parking information and a map with the route from the Las Cruces Convention Center to Pete V. Domenici Hall, visit domenici.nmsu.edu. There is no charge to park in these parking lots after 4:30 p.m. and no parking permit is required after 4:30 p.m.