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Construction Employment Up, Wages Different from State to State

Construction jobs are on the increase nationwide, with some of the most dramatic growth in the Western states of New Mexico, Texas and Nevada.

“Construction is in recovery and adding jobs faster than the overall economy for the last year or so,” remarks Ken Simonson, chief economist with the Associated General Contractors of America.

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New Mexico Think-Tank Spurs Unanimous Implementation of “2050 Imperative” for Zero Carbon Emissions at World Congress of Architects

On August 8 of this year, the International Union of Architects voted unanimously to adopt the “2050 Imperative” which would reduce carbon emissions to zero in 35 years at their World Congress in Durban, South Africa. Member organizations representing over 1.3 million architects in 124 countries adopted the declaration.

The imperative was initiated and drafted by Architecture 2030, a New Mexico-based think tank that has spurred such national movements as the 2030 Challenge, the 2030 Challenge for Products, 2030 Districts, and has most recently developed the 2030 Palette, an open-source online sustainable design tool.

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Art Deco Buildings in El Paso Getting New Life

The news earlier this year that El Paso developer Lane Gaddy had purchased the famous Bassett Tower with plans to turn the former office building into a 100-room hotel was instantly viewed as another shot in the arm for downtown revitalization efforts in El Paso.

Gaddy, noted the website El Paso Inc., has "shaken up" the downtown El Paso real estate market in recent years, purchasing neglected buildings, and "betting a lot of money on the success of revitalization efforts."

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University of New Mexico Projects Reflect Growth and Community Needs

A new health science center may be in the University of New Mexico's future if voters in November pass the state-wide General Obligation Bond C. UNM is asking for $12 million for the planning, design and construction of the new facility, one of the five projects the school hopes to have funded this year through GO Bonds.

"Because they are the largest school in the state, UNM usually has the most proposed GO Bond projects," says Gerald Burke, the chairman of the GO Bond for Education Committee. Altogether, UNM is asking for a total of $39 million in state bond funding, which will also include $20.5 million to renovate the Farris Engineering Building; $4 million to design and build a health career training center at the school's Taos campus; and $1 million to renovate the Zollinger Library at UNM's Gallup campus.

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Construction of Albuquerque Otter Exhibit to be Partially Funded by Bond

A new exhibit devoted entirely to river otters at the Albuquerque Biological Park may soon secure county funding if a $27.5 million bond is passed this November.

Of that amount, some $2 million would be dedicated specifically to the building of an otter exhibit at the park, which is located at 903 10th Street SW. An additional $500,000 is expected to be secured from the State of New Mexico.

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Martina Lorey: El Paso's Leading Residential and Community Designer

As the daughter of a musician and artist growing up in El Paso in the 60’s, Martina Lorey’s childhood was steeped in the arts, and she knew her life’s work would be aimed in that direction. Today, she is one of El Paso’s most beloved architects, sought after for her level of artistry and high standards in design.

“Had I been a trust fund baby, perhaps I would have become a visual artist,” Lorey muses. “Yet from a very young age, I think I knew what I wanted to do—I was always making things and putting them together. With architecture I can still be in the conversation of creating in the arts and have a steady way of supporting myself.”

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WIPP Reopening Targeted for Early 2016

Six months after radiation leaked from Carlsbad's Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, plans are in the works for reopening the internationally known facility 18 months from now.

"An actual recovery plan has not yet been announced," says Tim Runyon, a spokesman for the federal Department of Energy at Carlsbad. "We are expecting to see that plan soon, perhaps sometime this fall."

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New Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine Aiming for Early 2015 Construction

A plan announced last month to build a two-story building dedicated to the study of osteopathic medicine on the Las Cruces campus of New Mexico State University has already been altered significantly.

“It’s now going to be three stories,” says John Hummer of what will be the Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine, noting that the structure will look a lot like the modernistic and airy Skeen Hall, also on the NMSU campus, built in honor of long-time New Mexico Congressman Martin Skeen and opened in 2000.

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TTU College of Architecture Fosters Design Excellence from its Historic Union Depot in Downtown El Paso

Dr. Robert González knew he had been given the opportunity of a lifetime when he got a call from the City of El Paso in 2011, offering his college a space at the Historic Union Depot. As the then recently appointed Director of Texas Tech University’s College of Architecture program in El Paso, he knew the active train station was designed by one of the nation’s premier architects, Daniel Hudson Burnham, and that it could transform his college.

“People often say, ‘we have an amazing train station!’ yet they don’t recognize the building’s true significance. Burnham was the first architect to design high rises in Chicago, including the Flatiron Building in New York.”

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City for Champions Project Promises New Era for Colorado Springs

Bob Cope calls it a game-changer, the idea that one or several highly visible building projects can alter the destiny of a city.

"We would love to have any of the four component projects that we are working on," says Cope of the ambitious City for Champions initiative in Colorado Springs which will see the construction of an Olympic museum, a sports and event center, a visitors center at the Air Force Academy, and sports medicine center on the local campus of the University of Colorado.

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Projects at El Paso Airport Reflect Growth, Optimism

A five-year capital improvement plan for the El Paso International Airport will soon see more than $139 million in construction activity, including a project that upon completion is bound to make many travelers happy: a new $46 million car-rental facility.

“We’ve been working for the last three years on putting together the design and planning for a new multi-level facility that can accommodate more parking,” says Scott Goldstein, director of airport planning for Enterprise Holdings, which operates such car-rental brands as Alamo, National and Enterprise.[read more...]

El Paso's Famous Northgate Mall to Become New Transit Center

Where once stood the sprawling Northgate Mall is now only an empty, dusty 30-acre lot surrounded with a 6 foot-high chain link fence. But residents in northeast El Paso remember the Northgate Shopping Center at 9530 Dyer Street as a place of wonder.

“It had shade, which was and is a big deal here,” says Everett Vanarsdall, an El Pasoan who recalls going to the mall primarily to buy groceries. "I used to park my big truck there, too, never an issue. Oh, and they had a carnival thing there now and then.”[read more...]

Garry Boulard: Construction Reporter's Star Journalist

Garry Boulard has clearly made it as a journalist and author having published in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Christian Science Monitor as well as authoring seven well-received books in the genre of historical nonfiction. He even has his own Wikipedia page—a true sign of success for our times.

Yet Boulard, like the business owners he interviews for Construction Reporter, is nothing if not humble. He is one of those remarkable individuals who has cultivated a habit of gratitude—a feeling he often expresses for his solid gig as lead freelance writer at Construction Reporter. His steady flow of news feeds and weekly features source much of the content for the online news service. [read more...]

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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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