By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor
April 2013 was the ground breaking moment for New Mexico State University’s Pete V. Domenici Hall. This week the grand opening reception is taking place at the building located at 3014 McFie Circle, in the center of the campus.
The new building is meant to repurpose the university’s Hershel Zohn Theatre, expanding it to become the 40,000-square-foot Pete V. Domenici Hall. The Hershel Zohn Theatre was the home to NMSU’s theatre arts program, and it relocated in December 2013 to the university’s new Center of the Arts building at University Avenue and Espina Street.
A significant contribution for the project came from the PY Foundation led by Peyton Yates of Artesia in honor of his parents. Pete V. Domenici Hall will have one of the few large auditoriums on campus. The former Hershel Zohn Theatre is now S.P. and Estelle Yates Theatre. It will have a capacity of about 240 seats and will be equipped to allow seamless integration of learning technology in the classroom. The El Paso Electric Classroom is equipped for HD video conferencing, enabling students to enroll in online courses and have the real-time learning experience as they would have if attending in person.
Through the contribution of Bobby Lutz and his wife Rebecca, the main floor lecture hall received a fully automated touch panel control and the same setup podium as the Yates Theatre. This room will function as overflow seating for the Yates Theatre. G.L. Seaman & Company, the couple’s company, designed and donated furniture for the lounge and study areas of the two-story atrium that includes a variety of outlets for electronics.
Domenici Hall includes a shower and lockers for those who bike to the campus, adding to the building’s pursuit of LEED silver certification. The final cost of the construction is estimated at around $12.6 million. The funds came from federal, state and private sources, including a gift of $1 million from Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino owner and NMSU supporter Stan Fulton.
Photos courtesy of New Mexico State University.