It's the oldest building on the 600-acre UNM campus and home to more than 163,000 alumni who have walked the university's grounds. Opened Sept. 1, 1892, Hodgin Hall began as a four story brick building on the mesa, two miles east of the city. Originally built in Richardson Romanesque style at a cost of $30,000, Hodgin Hall housed all university programs for eight years. Two departments, preparatory and normal, served 108 students.

Few thought the university would succeed, but it grew quickly, adding buildings, faculty, staff, students and programs. In 1912, New Mexico was granted statehood. In 1922, UNM received accreditation.

Officially designated the Alumni Center by UNM regents in 2005, Hodgin Hall recently underwent a long overdue renovation and is scheduled to reopen in time for UNM's 87th annual homecoming festivities in late-September.

"Hodgin Hall is the soul of the university," said Karen Abraham, associate vice president, Alumni Relations. "Hodgin Hall is the home of UNM's alumni, showcasing those who have come through UNM's doors, imprinted with its heritage and who have left to create their own legacy. It is the storyteller of and for the university's past, present and future.

"The purpose of the renovation project was to make Hodgin Hall more functional, to showcase alumni better and to tell the story of Hodgin Hall and the history and heritage of the university. The next two to three months will be devoted to putting the building back together in terms of displays and the writing of corresponding stories about the building, people, alumni and university's traditions and its history – past, present and future."

Renovation included finishing out the basement, now called the garden level, adding a lobby, restroom, two meeting rooms and a staging area. A visitors room will be featured on the first floor where videos about Hodgin Hall and UNM history will be shown.

On the second floor, the main feature is an art gallery and library featuring alumni books and works. A storage and service area was added to the third floor to enhance use of the Bobo room.

Additional lighting was added to each room to brighten the building. Most of the hanging light fixtures were rewired and refurbished as well.

"On each floor there is a window to Hodgin's original being where you can peak into the brick cases and see the original foundation," Abraham said. "There is also a spot where a time capsule will be placed during the grand re-opening."

The building, which is now Americans with Disabilities Act compliant, was upgraded with wireless and audio visual capabilities in each of the meeting rooms. Hodgin Hall was also brought up to code complying with all new fire protection regulations.

Further work is planned for phase two of the renovation. Future plans call for saving Tight Grove, the most historical corner of the university, in honor of William G. Tight, UNM's third president.

Funding for phase one of the project, $2.9 million, came from individual state legislators, bond funds and additional funds raised by the Alumni Association. Final construction costs will be within budget.

For a slideshow visit: Hodgin Hall Renovation.