Las Vegas, NM — New Mexico Highlands University will host a community open house Aug. 6 at 6 p.m. about the new residence hall being built near the intersection of Washington Street and 9th Street.The open house will be at the Margaret Kennedy Alumni Hall at 905 University Ave. Light refreshments will be served.Architectural plans will be displayed at the open house so the community can visualize how the 100,000-square-foot residence hall will look at completion. The new building will house 276 students in 89 apartment-style suites and is geared towards incoming freshman. The new residence hall will help fill a pressing need for more student housing on the Highlands campus. It is expected to both attract new students and increase retention. The goal is to have the residence hall ready for students in time for the fall 2009 semester. Dekker/Perich/Sabatini, an award winning Albuquerque-based architectural firm, designed the three-story residence hall. The external design incorporates elements of the Spanish Colonial style common on campus. The design also features an outdoor amphitheater with a landscaped plaza as well as a third-level terrace. The building is wheelchair accessible throughout.This new student housing is designed to attain Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification, which is a high-level measure of sustainability for areas such as water and energy efficiency, materials and resource use, and indoor environmental quality.Franken Construction is the contractor for the residence hall and is on schedule with some north wing walls already standing. At the height of construction, Franken expects the job site to employ up to 100 local workers.The new residence hall is being built on the site of the old nine-story dorm that was demolished in 2007 due to safety concerns. The new residence hall will cost $17 million and the university’s loan for the project will be paid through revenue from students who live there.Also on hand at the open house will be Larry Franken, vice president for Franken Construction; Phillip Martinez, project manager for Franken Construction; Dan Monk, project architect for Dekker/Perich/Sabatini; Marisol Greene, facilities and planning director for Highlands; and Sean Weaver, university relations director for Highlands.Highlands is posting weekly construction updates on its Web site at www.nmhu.edu. The number to call with questions or comments about the residence hall construction is 505-454-3387.