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Colorado State University Set to Build New $220 Million Stadium

Despite criticism saying it will cost too much, a new $220 million stadium home for the Colorado Rams very much appears to be in Colorado State University’s future. A memorandum sent several weeks ago by CSU President Tony Frank to the school’s Board of Governors argues that a new stadium will “demonstrate our commitment to excellence in all we do, return the game-day experience to our campus with all the inherent benefits of doing so, and have the likely outcome of a positive impact without any utilization of tuition, fees or state support.”

As proposed, the stadium, which would go up on the southwest side of the Fort Collins campus of CSU, would have a total seating capacity of 40,000 and would include locker rooms, offices, suites, a press box and potentially more than 50,000 square feet of classroom space. An earlier version of the proposal also called for two parking garages on either side of the facility.

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Hobbs Oil and Gas Boom Fuels Construction

Enjoying its status as one of the fastest-growing cities in the state, the biggest challenge facing Hobbs, New Mexico has been how to manage the growth. “When you have the kind of growth we’ve had in recent years, it affects everything,” says Grant Taylor, the president and CEO of the Hobbs Chamber of Commerce.

That growth, clocked at 3.1 percent from 2012 to 2013 by the U.S. Census, and significantly higher than Albuquerque and Las Cruces’ 0.3 percent for the same period, has been fired nearly entirely by an unprecedented southern New Mexico oil patch boom.

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New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology Enjoying Construction Burst

The good news came just hours after voting finished last November and New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology officials learned that the statewide $139 million General Obligation Bond C had passed by a landslide.

“We are very pleased that the voters of New Mexico showed their support of higher education by overwhelmingly approving the GO Bond vote,” New Mexico Tech President Daniel Lopez said in a subsequent statement noting that out of the $139 million, $15 million would be dedicated to constructing a new building for the school’s busy chemistry department on the Socorro campus next year.

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SmartCode Wins Approval in El Paso, Texas

Gary Walford is a happy man. After arguing for years in favor of SmartCode development, he was highly gratified in early December to see the El Paso City Council vote in favor of creating just such a project, in this case at the site of the old Northgate Mall. “There’s a lot of things good about it,” says Walford, who is a member of the Castner Heights Neighborhood Association, a group representing homeowners living at the foothills of the Franklin Mountains.

“But what’s really good about this is what it does for senior citizens,” says Walford. “It places a big emphasis on parks and access to public transit and neighborhood markets and stores, all of which are things that older people like.” In announcing the SmartCode project, El Paso officials also announced that the Hunt Companies had been picked to build the new $100 million, 30-acre development.

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Construction Gains in 2014 Uneven in West

After a buoyant 2013, builders in Arizona were convinced 2014 would offer even more proof that the Grand Canyon State was finally emerging from the doldrums of the Great Recession. But by the first, and certainly the second quarter of this year, says Mark Minter, “We were convinced that we had become overly-optimistic.”

In fact, the number of construction projects and jobs in Arizona actually declined in 2014. Department of Labor statistics tell the story: “From September 2013 to September 2014, we lost about 7,000 construction jobs, on a base of 125,000 or 130,000,” says Minter, who is the executive director of the Arizona Builders’ Alliance.

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Otters in Albuquerque: Planning Underway for New Exhibit at City’s Biopark

River otters are expected to return to the Rio Grande Zoo sometime in 2016. This is good news for those who can’t get enough of the playful mammals that are now headline attractions at zoos in nearly 40 states, including New York’s famous Bronx Zoo, the National Zoo in Washington and the Miami Metro Zoo in Florida.

“There is an architectural rendering and plan that has been already designed,” reports Barry Bitzer, the director of development for the New Mexico BioPark Society, adding that the bond sale for the project will most likely take place in March.

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Bond C Passage to Fund Construction at New Mexico’s Community Colleges

A unique partnership hopes to see the building of a modern center devoted to health and wellness that will go up adjacent to the Hobbs campus of New Mexico Junior College.

But the fuel behind the project is a $5 million allocation from New Mexico’s General Obligation Bond C, which was overwhelmingly passed by state voters last month. “This is going to be an exciting project for all of us here,” says Susan Fine, the director of communications with NMJC.

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Arizona Biomedical Center: an Experiment in Bringing People to the Table

Discussions in Phoenix centering on what a planned multi-billion dollar biomedical corridor will look like are currently underway, with hopes that a master plan for the development will soon be announced.

“We’ve had visioning sessions on where to go next,” says Robin Sahid of the proposed Arizona Biomedical Corridor, which will go up next to the Mayo Clinic’s hospital in northeast Phoenix and could, at full build-out some 15 years from now, take in around 1,000 acres.

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Federal Money on the Way to Help Build New Mexico Rural Water Systems

The southern New Mexico town of Mesquite and community of Brazito have a problem: many people living in the two small desert localities are still using outdated on-site septic and leach field systems for their sewer systems, both long suspected of producing groundwater contamination.

“It’s something we have been trying to address here for several years,” says Martin Lopez, the general manager of the Lower Rio Grande Public Water Works Authority, which is based in Anthony. Now, through an $8 million combined federal grant and loan, a modern gravity and pressurized sewer system will be constructed so as to extend to both Mesquite and Brazito.

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New Mexico Main Street: Renovation, Revitalization And Economic Growth

The Lyceum Theatre in downtown Clovis is being brought back to life. For those who remember the Lyceum’s heyday when it showed movies daily and hosted personal appearances by the likes of Hollywood legends Tom Mix and Shirley Temple, the theatre’s return can only be good news.

But for younger generations, the renovation and restoration of the Lyceum, built nearly 100 years ago in the Spanish Mission style and fronted by an iconic neon sign that is the essence of cool, the theatre’s salvaging is a thing of inspiration.

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Portrait of Mark Conkling: Builder, Developer and Visionary

After more than three decades in the home building and land development business, Mark Conkling says he is today more interested in building people than houses. “I’ve had a tendency in recent years to try to understand the life cycle and why people are the way they are,” says Conkling, who serves on a part-time basis as a United Methodist pastor for the Bernalillo United Methodist Church, which has a congregation of some 45 members.

“The building I am interested in now is how you might build people,” continues Conkling, “how you might help somebody into a new way of life that changes their family and perceptions.”

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Humane Prairie Dog Removal Services Grow with Construction Industry

Trent Botkin has a sure-fire method for figuring out how many prairie dogs may be living on a given acre of land. “Under normal circumstances, its 10 to 20 prairie dogs per acre,” says Botkin, who is the owner of Eco Solutions LLC, a Santa Fe-based prairie dog removal service.

“But sometimes in urban development, where prairie dogs have moved to the one vacant lot that is left on one block, or the one vacant corner left at an intersection, it could be as many as 50 prairie dogs per acre,” he adds.

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Indigenous Design Studio + Architecture, LLC: Breaking Ground for the Next Generation of Female and Minority Architects

Tamarah Begay, owner of Indigenous Design Studio + Architecture, LLC (IDS+A) is continually breaking new ground for the next generation of female and minority architects. Begay is one of only five registered female Native American architects across the nation and the first registered female Navajo architect. When she incorporated IDS+A in 2012 at the age of 32, she was also the youngest Albuquerque-based architectural and planning firm.

Every day she faces unique barriers due to her gender, culture, and age within her profession. Additionally, like every architect regardless of race, gender or experience, she faces the daunting hurdle of a still-sluggish economy. Yet far from being intimidated, Begay uses challenge as motivation to get stronger—and inspiration to open doors for others.

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Las Cruces Civic Plaza Project Seen as Corrective to 40 Year-Old Mistake

Miguel Silva remembers Las Cruces as it used to be. “We had a pretty significant cathedral in the downtown area, and it was torn down in the 1960s,” says the Las Cruces city councilor. “To a degree, when that happened, the city also lost its heart, the hub of the city.”

Now Las Cruces is on the verge of getting its heart back. Members of the City Council this summer gave their approval to a plan that will result in the building of a civic plaza that could turn out to be as much of a community focal point as the once-grand St. Genevieve’s Church was.

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Albuquerque Rail Yard Market Brings New Life to Barelas, Downtown

The Albuquerque Rail Yards Market ended their inaugural season November 2, 2014. Happy attendees spilled out of the Blacksmith Shop, faces painted in the Day of the Dead “Calavera” style, ready for the Marigold Day Parade.

On May 4, just six months earlier, the historic Blacksmith shop was transformed for the first time from an enormous, empty husk of a building into a bustling marketplace. The first market drew a jaw-dropping number of people—8,000 according to Robert Hoberg, one of the coordinators for the Market.

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Virgin Galactic Crash May Not Detract from Spaceport’s Benefits

Due to the tragic crash of the VSS Enterprise, a Virgin Galactic spaceflight test vehicle, in the Mojave Desert, the inaugural flight of any Virgin Galactic rocket from Spaceport America into suborbital space has been unavoidably delayed.

In a statement after the crash, Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides remarked somberly: “Space is hard and today was a tough day.” Remarked Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson: “We do understand the risks involved and we are not going to push on blindly—to do so would be an insult to all those affected by this tragedy.” “We are going to learn from what went wrong,” Branson continued, “discover how we can improve safety and performance and then move forward together.”

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New Library Construction Reflects Larger Trends

Trying to decide whether or not to build a partial or complete library, members of the Camp Verde Town Council were impressed when a group of local teenagers showed up at a recent meeting to make the case for a complete structure.

“There are many teens here, including the members of a teen advisory board, who are very interested and involved in the building plans for the new library,” says Kathy Hellman, the director of the Camp Verde Community Library in the central Arizona town of Camp Verde.

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Jerry Pacheco: John the Baptist in the Desert Promotes Mexican Trade and Building Projects

Surveying for more than a quarter of a century New Mexico’s embrace of such industries as mining, tourism and technology, Jerry Pacheco notes “Until very recently we discounted the fact that the state’s biggest, most in-your-face sustainable economic development opportunities have come with trading with Mexico.”

The long-time executive director of the International Business Accelerator, headquartered in Santa Teresa, Pacheco says an observer taking note of his repeated emphasis on improving economic ties between New Mexico and Mexico likened him to a “John the Baptist in the desert in camel hair, looking kind of crazy and yelling ‘The Future is Mexico! The future is Mexico!’”

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Big Paseo/I-25 Interchange Project Entering 9th Inning Stretch

Workers continue to push to meet a December timeline for the completion of the Paseo del Norte/I-25 Interchange construction project.

“We are 80 percent completed right now,” reports Patti Watson, Chief Executive Officer with the Albuquerque-based Cooney, Watson & Associates, Inc., a firm doing public relations work for the New Mexico Department of Transportation.

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Lane Gaddy, El Paso Developer Invests in Restoration of El Paso’s Historic Downtown

A pro-alligator campaign may seem like an odd pursuit for any El Paso businessman, but not for Lane Gaddy in the fall of 2011. “I originally got involved because I believed the alligators that used to be here were one of the most unique and interesting aspects of El Paso’s culture and heritage,” recalls Gaddy of what was known as the San Jacinto Alligator Project.

Gaddy’s idea was simple: as the City of El Paso was preparing to renovate and restore its historic downtown San Jacinto Plaza, Gaddy wanted alligators to be a part of the story.

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Legal Constructs

Dena WurmanBreach of Contract

In March 2014, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) sued one of its most highly compensated executives for misappropriation of trade secrets and breach of contract after he resigned and took a job at its chief competitor, Zillow....
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