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Smith Brasher Hall Reopening for Fall Term as State-of-the-Art Learning Facility

August 2, 2017 -- When students who are taking classes in Smith Brasher Hall return for the Fall Term, they will find themselves in a newly renovated, state-of-the-art learning facility. The building will be showcased at CNM Convocation on Aug. 25, which will take place in the Smith Brasher Hall parking lot.
Smith Brasher Hall Reopening for Fall Term as State-of-the-Art Learning Facility

Smith Brasher Hall

The 85,438 square-foot, two-story, steel-frame, brick-veneer building, originally constructed in 1982, will now have 10 classrooms, 10 computer labs, one auditorium, one open computer lab with 80 computers, spaces for students to plug in their own devices, and welcoming lounge spaces in common areas. There will also be new offices for faculty and staff. The new facility is designed to be a student destination building where they will gather, converse, study and learn.

The $24 million renovation features major upgrades to the building’s technology infrastructure to create the kind of modern technology environment needed to prepare students for the high-tech jobs of tomorrow. The upgrades will allow the computer labs and classrooms in the building to take advantage of higher capacity and faster technology.

Academic Affairs partnered with CNM's Physical Plant Department to help guide the design of the building.

“The new building is a model of innovation," said Donna Diller, dean of the School of Business & Information Technology. "It provides an amazing new learning environment for all of our (BIT) programs, including state-of-the-art computer labs that support our Computer Information Systems programs. Students will have great, hands-on access to real-world computing environments in these new labs.

"And just outside of Smith Brasher, there will be locations for food trucks, growers markets and student-run kiosks, which will support entrepreneurship and sustainability.”

Classrooms have been converted to Level 1 teaching spaces that feature a projector and instructor’s computer. The auditorium is now a Level 3 facility with a sound system, projector, lecture podium and moveable boardroom furniture that can be configured for meetings or removed.

Device charging stations are located throughout the lounge areas, allowing students to recharge their computers, laptops and cell phones. There are also two “fishbowl” classrooms where people on the outside can observe what is going on inside. Hall lights were replaced with LEDs, making hallways light and vibrant.

“This renovation has turned Smith Brasher Hall into the kind of modernized learning facility that will enhance the student experience and advance CNM’s efforts to support student success,” said Marvin Martinez, executive director of the Physical Plant.

The building is designed to meet Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) certification. One of the most prominent eco-friendly features is the geothermal heating and cooling system that is expected to save CNM about $96,489 a year in energy costs.

The system consists of 160 vertical wells drilled into the ground 300 feet deep, just south of the building. The system uses the earth as an energy source, or “heat sink,” and transports energy to and from the ground through water in a piping loop. The year-round average ground temperature is about 68 degrees, which cools in the summer and helps heat in the winter. The ground source heat pump system is all electric and does not require gas fuel as in traditional heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.

“The ground source heat pump system allows for us to store summer heat in the ground and use it in the winter,” said Abbas Shirian, mechanical engineer with Bridgers & Paxton Consulting Engineers, which oversaw the ground source heating and cooling project. “We are capturing the heat and putting it back in the building with no need for natural gas. Electricity is used to pump the heated or cooled water through the system and into the building.”

He added, “The amount of electricity used to run the pumps is also substantially less than what would be needed to cool in the summer months (with a traditional system), thus curbing our consumption of fossil fuels, reducing our impact on the climate and mitigating energy costs.”

Two other buildings at CNM have ground source pumps -- the Rio Rancho Campus building and Westside Phase I on the Westside Campus.

Another notable feature of SB is that there are universal restrooms located throughout the building to accommodate everybody.

BIT faculty and staff will be moving back into SB from their temporary locations from Aug. 7-11, with administrative offices open for business beginning Aug. 14. Some of BIT’s administrative staff will continue to maintain a presence at the Montoya Campus. The BIT offices at Montoya Campus will remain in Tom Wiley Hall, Rooms 204 and 206.

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