The Phase I Wing of the University of New Mexico's Castetter Hall, which houses the biology department, was among 10 recipients to receive the 2010 Award of Excellence presented recently by the NAIOP, a commercial real estate development association.

Annually, NAIOP in New Mexico sponsors awards for the most meritorious construction projects in the State, within a number of different categories including commercial, residential and educational. Castetter Hall's Phase I Wing received the award in the Educational/Post-secondary category.

"I am pleased that the Phase 1 Wing of Castetter Hall received the 2010 Award of Excellence in the Secondary Education category," said Biology Chair Richard Cripps. "It's an impressive achievement that would not have been possible without the efforts of all the individuals involved in the project."

The building was designated LEED Gold status, by the U.S. Green Building Council, in recognition of its environmentally-conscious design. The addition is the first on campus to adhere to the Governor of New Mexico's Executive Order requiring new buildings acquire a minimum of silver certification under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Green Rating System established by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). SMPC Architect's design surpassed this silver level requirement with the building receiving a gold-level certification.

Those involved in the project included SMPC Architects, Britton Construction, FBT Architects, Christopher Carian with Office of Capital Projects, and biology's Sam Loker, Steve Stricker and John Cox.

Funding for the new wing, which comprises 16,000-square-feet of net new space, came from a combination of student bonds, legislative money and grant funds totaling approximately $9.9 million.

"This is a great example of how both funding sources and hard work can be woven together to create a great achievement," added Cripps. "We will use the momentum from this award to push forward with the completion of the Phase 2 addition to Castetter Hall."

The department was awarded a large silver trophy, which will be displayed in a prominent location.

Media contact: Steve Carr (505) 277-1821; e-mail: