Samuel Escoto
Samuel Escoto, a recent UNM graduate from the School of Architecture and Planning, is a professional intern with the Office of the University Architect. Escoto assisted PPD Grounds & Landscaping to determine areas on campus to improve ramps.

As students return to campus this week, they will see many small changes. That’s because UNM’s Physical Plant Department spent the winter break cleaning buildings, painting and completing remodeling projects.

“PPD plans these projects when students are on a break because there are far fewer people on campus,” said Billy Hromas, manager of PPD Facilities Maintenance. “We want our projects to impact the campus community as little as possible.”

Over the break PPD Grounds and Landscaping renovated many sidewalk ramps along Las Lomas working with Samuel Escoto, a recent UNM graduate from the School of Architecture and Planning. Escoto is a professional intern with the Office of the University Architect, and has first-hand knowledge of the difficulties of getting around campus in a wheelchair.  His insights helped Willie West, manager of PPD G&L, determine areas where improved ramps were needed.

“I personally felt that as an accessibility-challenged student of architecture at UNM, it was important for me to work with the University to improve the built environment throughout UNM,” Escoto said. West expects that all sidewalk ramps on the main and north campus will be improved over the next several years thanks to Escoto’s input.

PPD G&L also installed a new, water-efficient irrigation system on the north and east side of the Anthropology building. 

“The new irrigation system will be significantly more efficient in applying the water uniformly throughout the landscape, and is part of PPD’s on-going water conservation efforts,” said West.    

Zimmerman Library is adorned with brand new carpet in the reading rooms. Fresh, new carpet extends throughout the space providing a clean, comfortable area for students to study.  This project was completed by PPD Remodel, along with the current renovation of the bathrooms on the east end of the first floor.  The Zimmerman roofing project, began in mid-December, is scheduled to be completed by the end of the first week in February.

“We normally run multiple projects over the break as this is the best time to renovate an occupied space without disturbing the flow of work in these areas,” said Mark Manzutto, manager of PPD Remodel.

Custodial Services spent most of the intersession scrubbing and waxing floors in classrooms and hallways in Dane Smith Hall and the Math and Science building. Mitchell Hall has unique floors where only scrubbing is needed to leave them with a bright shine.  The Parish Library carpets were shampooed and the restrooms in this building were cleaned with a Kaivac machine, a high-efficiency, no-touch cleaning system. 

Johnson Center received a face-lift with new paint throughout the building. Handrails, doors, bathrooms, corridors and the entire main gym have a fresh coat of paint, improving the overall look of the gym.  The Natatorium Therapy Pool and locker rooms received new tile, fixtures and plumbing, a project led by the staff in PPD Maintenance. 

Changing room in Johnson Center
Changing room in Johnson Center.

Pearl Hall was scheduled to have new, high-efficiency LED lighting installed throughout the building as well.  When the contractors began the work, a fire broke out near the auditorium.  It was quickly detected by the building’s fire sprinkler system, eliminating the fire and leaving only water and smoke damage.  PPD responded quickly to clean up the water and remove any smoke damage and smell before students returned to the building. 

PPD has a responsibility to care for and maintain the UNM physical campus environment and takes pride  in making the campus a beautiful place for students, staff, faculty and the New Mexico community.