Remodeling Project at Caster Activity Center

Remodeling Project at Caster Activity Center

By Todd Bailey, Hobbs News-Sun


It started as a drip from a hole the size of the tip of a ballpoint pen about a year ago.

It’s now become a $4 million, multi-phased remodeling project to Caster Activity Center on the New Mexico Junior College campus. During its November meeting, the college’s board unanimously approved an additional $1.5 million be moved from the college reserves for Caster Activity Center Phase One Remodel project. That $1.5 million joins $2.5 million the board already moved for the project.

“The drip was at the end of my office over my conference table and it ruined my conference table,” Sharp said. “I have the pipe. It was galvanized pipe and the corrosion built up and it was a pinhole, the size of the end of a pen. It started on the weekend and when we showed up that Monday there was about 3 inches of water in that office.”

As efforts to repair Sharp’s office started, more questions were asked. The first being, how much of that pipe is located on the NMJC campus?

“We got it everywhere,” Sharp said. “And then we got to talking about the gymnasium as being a big concern because of the wooden basketball floor and the building’s plumbing, with all that pipe, runs above that court. So that’s when we moved up this project.”

The remodel on the 50-year-old building was part of the school’s 2005 Master Plan, according to a letter from Vice President of Finance Dan Hardin to the school board.

“All of the 50-year-old galvanized plumbing in Caster must be replaced with copper piping and soft water systems,” the letter states.

The project could not be started until the community use and physical education classes that take place on a daily basis could be moved. That couldn’t happen until the Center of Recreational Excellence opened, allowing for those classes to move.

With that complete, phase one of the two-phase project is scheduled to start after this year’s basketball season in March and set to be complete by October 2019, before the 2019-20 basketball season. The opening season of NMJC’s volleyball program is scheduled for next fall and would take place at the CORE. Sharp said he was told the volleyball team could hold tournaments at the CORE.

“I don’t think we are going to have any snags,” Sharp said. “There’s just a lot of plumbing that needs to be taken out.”

Phase one targets all of the locker rooms, restrooms, offices, saunas and the hallway on the south side of the building along the front foyer, lobby and athletic administration office.

The two front doors will be converted into one front entrance with a ticket booth area. Three locker rooms with offices will be configured on the south side hallway to house men’s basketball, women’s basketball and women’s volleyball.

Track and cross county offices and team area will be near the front entrance. The concession and restrooms will be relocated and the athletic administration office will be reconfigured.

“We are going to have to take the coaches, whose offices are in the affected areas, will be moved to the annex area behind the Thunderbird Booster Club area where there are some classrooms,” Sharp said.

Phase two is scheduled to start March 2020 and address the north side locker rooms, training area and repurposes the racquetball courts.

“We’ve already changed out the galvanized pipe in Mansur Hall and some smaller buildings that can be done during the summer breaks,” Sharp said. “We’ve done some of our buildings, but Caster is so big and it has all of those locker rooms, showers.”

Todd Bailey can be reached at .