D.W. Williams Hall to be demolished within the coming months


Shane Buchanan

Students object to plans for demolition of D.W. Williams Hall.

The previous site of the New Mexico State University art department, D. W. Williams Hall, is due for demolition at the end of this year. 

Demolition of the hall and it’s attached annex, will begin anytime between November 2019 and January 2020 said NMSU’s Assistant Director of Product Development and Engineering Robert Herrera. 

We still need to get the items out of the buildingSo if we do [the demolition] this year it’ll be November. If not, it’ll probably be scheduled for the first of the [new] year,” Herrera said.  

Built as Williams Gymnasium in 1938the building hosted the Aggies basketball team for approximately 30 years. 

Despite the building’s historical significance, some – including Herrera – think the cost surpasses the sentiment. 

“I don’t think the historical significance outweighs the cost to renovate and maintain that building,” Herrera said. 

According to Herrera, it will take four to six months to complete the demolition. Once the building is gone, a “green space” will stand in its place. The space will be landscaped with grass and serve as temporary park.  

The park will act as a placeholder until the Board of Regents decide what to officially do with, what Herrera called “prime real estate,” on University Avenue. 

“We don’t want to have bare dirt there, we want something beautifying the campus,” Herrera said. “We don’t want to overdevelop it to a point where we have to do anymore demolition in case we want to build another building there.” 

NMSU art student Jaque Cervantes said the art department could use the new park area to their advantage. 

“I could see a lot of students trying to get [art] installations there… because [in Devasthali Hall], we’re not allowed to do anything to it for a year. We’re not allowed to mark the walls, we’re not allowed to truly experience the building,” Cervantes said. 

Cervantes added that D. W. Williams Hall could have been a nice space for the undergraduate art students to take over and create in. 

“They should have had that building for the undergrads, or at least the grad students,” Cervantes said. “If [the undergraduates] had a bigger space like that, people would feel more interested in the program.”

University Architect Heather Watenpaugh said it made more sense to remove the building entirely as opposed to renovating or re-purposing the space. 

“Analysis indicates that a renovation of the existing structures will be extremely expensive (more than a new construction), logistically challenging, and a high risk in terms of the potential for collapse during construction,” Watenpaugh said. 

Once an official plan is set in place for the 73,000 square foot area, Watenpaugh said a new building will likely occupy the space. 

The long-term goals for the Dan Williams Hall site on University Avenue include a new academic or mixed-use building between the new art building and the bookstore, beyond the 2027 time-frame,” she said. 

Facebook Comments