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Clint Independent School District in El Paso County Set to Launch New Construction and Renovations Project

New school construction and extensive renovations projects will soon be beginning in one of the most geographically diverse and growing school districts in El Paso County. In early May voters in the Clint Independent School District overwhelmingly approved an $80 million bond designed to build and upgrade facilities throughout the 379 square-mile district.

“The vote was a strong indication that people here like what the District is doing, the education that is being provided for their children,” says Clint ISD director of public relations Laura Cade.

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Wheels Museum Determined to Play Important Role in the Redevelopment of the Albuquerque Railyard

While frequently thorny issues regarding the redevelopment of the larger 27.3 acres of the Albuquerque Rail Yards come and go, the Wheels Museum at the same site continues to quietly stake out its own future.

“We are in the midst of dealing with the city on a number of code issues,” says Jim Duffield, a member of the Wheels Museum’s board of directors. “We have an architect who is doing a code analysis so that we can find out exactly what needs to be done and get our building up to code,” he continues. “Once we get that taken care of, we can invite people in to look at the place without having to worry about permits and fire marshals and things.”

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Starbucks Outlet Growth Back on Track

Nearly 6 years ago, as the country was edging into what would turn out to be historically long-lasting recession, the Starbucks Corporation announced it was closing up to 600 stores across the country. Starbucks said it was taking the downsizing decision due to many factors, including difficulty in attracting new customers.

By last December, Starbucks president and CEO Howard Schultz announced an ambitious 5-year plan for growth, with Matt Ryan, global chief strategy officer for the company, predicting that “Over the next 5 years, Starbucks will grow to nearly $30 billion in annual revenue, with more than 30,000 stories globally.”

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Winrock Center Inspiration was also Civil Rights Path-Breaker

On the official opening of the original $10 million Winrock Shopping Center in 1961, shoppers strained to catch a glimpse of Shelley Fabares, cast member with the popular Donna Reed Show, and local TV celebrities Captain Billy Binnacle and Uncle Howdy.

Others were more interested in the man who made the 565,000 square-foot center possible: Winthrop Rockefeller, scion of the legendary Rockefeller family, and a man who, as a business and civic leader in still-racially segregated Arkansas, was emerging as an civil rights hero. “Winrock probably could not have become reality without Winthrop Rockefeller,” says Robert Turner Wood, the author of the Postwar Transformation of Albuquerque.

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Controversial Colorado Hotel and Convention Center Begins Site Work

The initial work on the Gaylord Rockies Hotel and Convention Center project in Aurora, Colorado has at last begun. “We started the storm water mitigation and erosion control work,” reports Nancy Kristof, senior marketing and communications manager at Mortenson Construction.

That initial work also includes the erection of an erosion control fence near a planned retention pond, as well as other site preparation. “There is nothing vertical yet,” says Kristof, who adds that she wasn’t certain when actual construction on the project will begin.

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Passage of Capital Outlay Bill Means Funding for Variety of New Mexico Projects

Traffic up and down busy Coors Boulevard may someday flow easier now that New Mexico lawmakers have passed a $295 million capital outlay bill. Among the many projects that that legislation will pay for is a retrofit of traffic lights on the west Albuquerque artery. “We have about $800,000 in the bill that will allow for smart light traffic control technology,” says Senator Jacob Candelaria.

That technology, continues Candelaria, “helps to reduce traffic by timing a light not based on standard time, but rather by responding to traffic flow and traffic congestion, which will probably make the people who use Coors every day very happy.”

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Colorado Construction Fired by Hotel and Motel Boom

Morgan County in northern Colorado has not enjoyed as big of an oil and gas boom as its sister counties Larimer and Weld. But even so, local hotels and motels have been packed with people who work in area oil fields. “We’ve actually called the local Hampton Inn the Halliburton Inn,” says Kristine Rodine, in reference to the Halliburton Corporation employees working in the northern Colorado.

“Some of the hotels and motels have been completely booked up by oil people,” continues Rodine, who is an administrative assistant with the Morgan County Economic Development Corporation. “And they are usually there for extended stays.”

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Gary Tonjes Sees Post-Recession Vibrancy in Albuquerque and New Mexico

As president of the nonprofit Albuquerque Economic Development since 1994, Gary Tonjes has promoted the promise of the future against sometimes the most daunting challenges of the present.

“While Albuquerque boasts many positive attributes, we do face certain challenges when promoting our city,” says Tonjes, noting that there are “significantly less people working in traditional economic development functions in this state and the Albuquerque metro area than in competing markets.”

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Riccobene Hardscape Innovations (Update)

Construction Reporter member and Albuquerque based Riccobene Hardscape Innovations has had great success with their Plaza MPP product. Sales Engineer and Technical Services Director Merlyn Nyght shared photos showcasing some of Riccobene’s latest projects.

Here’s why Merlyn and Riccobene use Construction Reporter: “We enjoy the service Construction Reporter provides. The plans, specifications and contact lists have provided Riccobene Hardscape Innovations the ability to be involved with projects we would have never known were on the drawing boards. The ROI is, definitely there.” -Merlyn Nyght

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Gary Goodman’s Big Idea: New Mexico as World Water and Energy Expert

Gary Goodman has a big idea for New Mexico. In Goodman’s vision New Mexico steps up as the global leader in resource management and technologies—beginning with water. The path forward, he says, is for the six New Mexico communities—business, not-for-profit, tribal, educational, research, and political—to sit at the same table and work together toward that aim.

Goodman is hardly just an “idea man”—he’s walking his talk in big way. As CEO of Goodman Realty Group, his firm is setting state, national, and global standards for energy and water management. The firm’s redesign of Hotel Andaluz reduced the hotel’s water use by 66 percent, installed the state’s largest solar array, and integrated an award-winning energy management system. Consequently, the hotel gained status as one of just two Gold LEED historic hotels across the nation.

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ArtSpace, Promoting Housing and Studios for Artists, Tackles West

When sculptor and painter Anna Hultin first learned that the national Artspace Projects, Incorporated, was interested in opening up a site in Loveland, Colorado, she couldn’t have been more excited. “This is exactly the kind of thing that working artists need here,” says Hultin, who is also an art teacher and gallery director in Loveland.

“Artists very often bring the economic drive to an area,” continues Hultin. “But they are also the first ones who have to move once the area takes off, because they can’t afford it when the rents go up.” Responding to that need Artspace last year announced it was building a new combined artist living and working space in the former office building of the Loveland Feed and Grain, an $8.9 million project that is now transforming the 120 year-old structure at 130 West Third Street.

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500-Mile Rio Grande Trail to be Studied

Representative Jeff Steinborn’s interest in creating a 500 mile-long recreational trail in New Mexico was whetted while hiking the famous 2,180-mile Appalachian Trail.

“Well, I actually only hiked about 50 miles of it,” laughs Steinborn. But that was enough for the 45 year-old lawmaker to think about the possibilities of creating a similar trail in New Mexico.

 

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Rural Roads Everywhere in Need of Repairs, Group Says

Despite the vital part they play as part of the nation’s transportation system, rural roads throughout the United States are in a critical condition and greatly in need of upgrading and repairs. That is the conclusion reached by a Washington nonprofit transportation research group called TRIP, which has just released a study evaluating both roads and bridges in rural America.

The report, “Rural Conditions: Challenges and Opportunities in America’s Heartland,” concludes that fatal crashes per vehicle-miles driven in rural areas greatly outnumber crashes on other roads due to both an aging road infrastructure and deficient bridges.

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Denver Zoo Master Plan Calls for New Construction and Upgrades

Devan Brua is a regular and enthusiastic visitor to the Denver Zoo. “I take our children there at least twice a week,” she says. “And I love it.” Noting that she resides about a mile away from the zoo, Brua adds: “When you live this close it’s a natural. Plus there are multiple play areas for the kids that are just perfect.”

But now Brua is enthusiastic about the zoo for even another issue: a facility master plan just announced by the zoo providing a blueprint for capital improvements and construction projects for the next two decades. “This is a major plan that looks at the zoo’s future,” says Sean Anderson, a spokesman for the City of Denver, noting that the master plan is the first of its kind in the last two decades.

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Colorado Springs to See New $60 Million Theater

Karl Brevik is a thriving actor in the thriving theater town of Colorado Springs, Colorado. “The two major theatre companies here are TheatreWorks and the Fine Arts Center and Theatre Company,” says Brevik, who has also, when he is not performing, served as a choreographer, prop master and director.

“Both of those theatres started early and never gave up,” notes Brevik. “Their idea from the start, in the late 1970s and early 80s, was to create a local theater community.” Now into that mix, which also includes three other theaters variously offering contemporary, edgy and children’s plays, comes the new Ent Center for the Arts, which will be going up on the Colorado Springs campus of the University of Colorado.

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Santa Fe Railyard Sees New Construction, Expects More

After several years of trying, the Santa Fe Railyards just opened an 11-screen, 16,000 square-foot combined cinema, restaurant and bar. “There was a cinema in the master plan that was finalized in 2002,” says Richard Czoski, the executive director of the Santa Fe Railyard Community Corporation.

“In 2005 we entered into a deal to lease ground to a developer who at that point was planning a 2,000-seat cinema and actually began excavation,” continues Czoski. But then came the Great Recession of 2008 and, says Czoski, “there was suddenly no commercial lending available, meaning that the project was basically stalled.”

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Denver’s Historic Western Stock Show Still Making History

As a sign of the support it has generated through the years, a bill targeting up to $250 million in state spending for the transformation of the historic National Western Stock Show in Denver has cleared a Colorado House Committee unanimously.

The legislation, sponsored by Majority Leader Crisanta Duran and Senator Jerry Sonnenberg, authorizes the State of Colorado to spend that money on lease-purchase arrangements for buildings that will be a part of the redevelopment of the Western Stock Show site in north Denver.

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San Juan College Planning Campus-Wide Construction and Renovation Projects

As it is about to enter its sixth decade, San Juan College in Farmington, New Mexico is in the throes of an epic wave of new construction, with plans for more building on the way. “I told somebody the other day that before it’s all over we are going to have something tore up at all four corners of the campus,” laughs Gary Smothers, the school’s interim physical plant director.

The newest work at San Juan, which was launched as a branch of the New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanical Arts in 1956, actually began just over a year ago with the building of the 65,000 square foot School of Energy at the corner of College Boulevard and Pinon Hills.

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Albuquerque Steps Up As Urban Sustainability Leader Becoming World’s 10th 2030 District

The 2030 District model has made downtown U.S.A. ground zero for a carbon-neutral future—and its influence is rapidly going global. 2030 Districts are living laboratories for comprehensive, sustainable urban redesign. As of last week nine cities including Denver, Dallas, and Toronto—the first outside U.S. borders—had formally established 2030 Districts.

On Monday, April 27, Albuquerque will become the 10th city in the world to sign a charter with Albuquerque 2030, officially establishing its own 2030 District. The signing and press event will take place downtown at 3:30 pm.

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Charter School Group in Arizona Enjoying Construction Boom

The latest good news for BASIS Schools Incorporated, which has offices in both Scottsdale and Tucson, came last month when members of the Phoenix City Council voted to approve some $88 million in Industrial Development Authority bonds to pay for the charter group’s continued Arizona facility expansion.

That bonding has proven to be crucial to BASIS’ facility growth, noted Phoenix City Councilman Sal Di Ciccio in comments before the vote was taken, because unlike public schools that have bonding capacity for construction, charter schools in Arizona, “don’t have the funding ability for capital.”

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Veeyah Spurs Solar Demand to Grow New Mexico’s Renewable Economy

As a solar advocate and part of Albuquerque’s construction community for over three decades, Paul Droege has seen the promise of a New Mexico solar industry flare up and die down repeatedly over the years. “I saw Advent Solar, Sky Fuel, so many others. I can’t tell you how many contractors I’ve seen open up a solar division—they were really going to go after it—but soon it was like, forget it, it’s not working,” says Droege, founder and CEO of Veeyah, a smart-grid startup.

So he decided to change the game—by focusing on solar demand, rather than supply. Droege had an epiphany at a conference where a crowd of solar advocates were asked if they used solar—and only a few hands shot up. He saw that people wanted solar, but too many barriers stood in the way. So he asked, why not make it accessible to everyone?

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New $1 Billion Power Plant Set for Northern New Mexico

Work could begin in early 2017 on the construction of a massive $1 billion power plant set to go up on private land near the small community of Waterflow, New Mexico.

“We’ve been doing our ground work, trying to build up support for this behind the scenes,” says Curt Hildebrand, the president of Western Energy Partners LLC, which is based in Littleton, Colorado and is the company building the new plant.

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New Public Safety Campus Reflects Dramatic East Las Cruces Growth

A vast and empty 50-acre site on the east side of Las Cruces is expected to see construction later this spring on a new and long-awaited combined police and fire substation. “Generally we are looking at engaging in a ground-breaking and the start of construction sometime in the middle of the next month,” reports D. Eric Martin, facilities management administrator with the City of Las Cruces.

“The goal after that is to have construction completed by June 30, 2016—in time for our new budget year,” adds Martin.

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Delayed, Over-Budget Veterans Affairs Construction Projects to be Target of Congressional Probe

After months of delays and cost overruns, a $1.7 billion project in Aurora, Colorado to build a new Veterans Administration hospital may soon be back on track. During a visit to the Aurora site, VA Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson acknowledged that his department was ceding control of the project to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the hope that construction on the 182-bed facility could continue, with a target completion date of sometime in 2017.

It’s a move that Colorado Congressman Mike Coffman, one of the most vocal critics of the way the VA has handled the Aurora project, welcomes.

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Santolina Master Plan Awaiting Commission Vote

A decision regarding the fate of a controversial plan that would see the eventual development of more than 13,700 acres in southwest Albuquerque may be announced in early May.

The Santolina Master Plan, as presented more than a year ago to the Bernalillo Planning Commission, is the most sweeping and all-encompassing development proposal ever aired in Albuquerque and Bernalillo County.

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Santa Fe’s Historic House of Governors in Need of Repairs

The more than 400 year-old Palace of Governors at 105 West Palace Avenue in Santa Fe is in need of a series of repairs that include stabilizing the building itself.

“There are several things that need to be done,” says Seth McFarland, operations manager with the Palace, listing “stucco repairs, and the repairing and resurfacing of the parapets” as the steps in the Palace’s overall restoration.

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Failed New Mexico Capitol Outlay Bill Sparks Hope for Special Session

New Mexico State Representative Deborah Armstrong is quick to admit that, as she puts it, “I am hardly in the leadership circle in Santa Fe.”

Nevertheless the Bernalillo County Democrat says she hopes that Governor Susana Martinez and the leaders of the legislature can come together on the need for a special session that will deal specifically with trying to pass a capital outlay bill.

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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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