By Hilary Broman
Senior Staff Reporter
It’s no secret that Smith Brasher Hall has reopened after its $24-million renovation, but many students might still have unanswered questions about the new building.
CNM Chronicle’s, Hilary Broman, sat down with Donna Diller, Dean of School of Business and Information Technology, to learn about the new and improved Smith Brasher Hall.
The renovation was paid for by a bond that was passed by the community.
With budget cuts taking place at CNM many students might wonder why CNM spent $24 million on the building renovation, Diller said, but those capital bonds can only be used for building improvements.
“Also, from an efficiency standpoint we were maxed out at our HVAC availability, the technology also needed to be improved for the building to have better access for technology in our classrooms.”
The original structure wasn’t completely torn down. It was just gutted.
“The new structure is much more user friendly for students, faculty, and staff,”
Originally built in 1982, Smith Brasher Hall had very traditional style classrooms, Diller said.
“It was very dark and there were not any encouraging gathering areas for students to work in.”
Now Smith Brasher Hall has a lot of natural light which creates a more inviting environment, but it is also effective from a sustainability standpoint, she said.
Having a lot of natural light allows CNM to use less electricity.
In addition to the natural light Smith Brasher Hall was redesigned with sustainability in mind.
Some of these features include, geo thermal wells that are pumped in the parking lot, solar panels to power the front outside area, and special parking spots for students who drive low emission, fuel saving vehicles.
There is a free parking lot immediately south of the building, Diller said, but there is parking that is even closer for fuel efficient vehicles.
These parking spots are to encourage sustainability efforts and give students who do drive low emission vehicles a parking perk.
Click here to see if your car qualifies for a Go Green Permit.
The outside front area of the building was designed with opportunities for growth in mind, Diller said.
“We anticipate having food trucks in that area and being able to have a farmer’s market, and student run kiosks in the future.”
Smith Brasher Hall is also equipped with 10 state of the art computer labs as well as tutor support for students who are learning programming, networking, cyber security, and cloud computing.
A new feature that the building never had before are focus rooms, which are private, comfortable spaces that seat about 6-8 students at a time.
They are great spaces where students can work on group projects or where faculty can work with students one on one, Diller said.
As an accessibility option there is one universal bathroom in Smith Brasher Hall.
The bathroom is to provide students with access to be able to use the restroom of their choice, and have that privacy.
“We have a diverse student population,” she said, “That is something that the school has a goal of moving towards; making sure we have that accessibility.”
Smith Brasher Hall is home to the School of Information and Technology.
They are already sharing the space with some faculty from the School of Math, Science, and Engineering, and the school of Communication, Humanities, and Social Sciences, as they get ready to renovate Max Salazar Hall which is scheduled to take place in 2018.
As CNM takes strides to a more sustainable campus Donna Diller said that she feels grateful.
“I think sometimes we take for granted the facilities that we have,” she said, “We are very fortunate to live and study and work together in a facility like this.”