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NMSU launches STARS campaign to renovate Rentfrow Gym

New Mexico State University's College of Education has launched a $1.5 million fundraising campaign to renovate Rentfrow Gymnasium for the Department of Human Performance, Recreation and Dance.


NMSU College of Education Dean Michael Morehead and others standing in front of a mirror.
New Mexico State University College of Education Dean Michael Morehead, left, speaks at the launch of a $1.5 million fundraising campaign to renovate Rentfrow Gymnasium for the Department of Human Performance, Recreation and Dance. (Courtesy Photo)
NMSU faculty, staff, students and guests dancing.
New Mexico State University faculty, staff, students and guests dance at the launch of a $1.5 million fundraising campaign to renovate Rentfrow Gymnasium for the Department of Human Performance, Recreation and Dance. (Courtesy Photo)

The campaign goal will be added to the university's capital campaign request as the Rentfrow Gym is one of the buildings that has been targeted for improvements.

The STARS, or Scientists, Teachers, Artisits, Researchers and Scholars, campaign will provide much needed space for the department, which has seen phenomenal growth. Most of the growth can be attributed to the increased demand for students with kinesiology degrees, but the dance program also has seen significant increases.

"Growth in the department and the interest in human movement as it pertains to the sciences, health, education and the arts is astounding," said Bob Wood, department head. "The department has tripled its enrollment in the last six years. Some graduates are studying medicine and some are dancing in New York."

In addition to accommodating the department's growth, the renovation project will provide a home for the dance program as well as space for outreach and scholarship opportunties for collaborations among the Colleges of Education, Engineering, Health and Social Services and others. The renovation and updating of an existing building with historical significance will enhance the campus too, Wood said.

Rentfrom Gymnasium was constructed in 1958 and was named for Era Rentfrow, a former university registrar. For many years, the gym was the home for the HPDR department, which was known as the Department of Physical Education and Recreation. The department now offers several degrees beyond the traditional physical education degree.

The renovations would allow the Dance Program to move into the Rentfrow Gym, where it would have space designed specifically for its needs. Moving the program to the gym would provide space to develop two kinesiology research labs in the Delamater Activity Center, where the HPDR department is now located.

Renovations call for fixing problems, such as ineffective climate control, which is important for the safety of students engaging in physical activity. Ceiling titles and lighting fixtures also need to be addressed. The major renovation items include the construction of a performance area, lighting appropriate for a theater, studio areas and increased building security.

For more information on the STARS campaign, contact Wood at 575-646-2216 or bobwood@nmsu.edu.