DACC refurbishes water laboratory

Thanks to the passage of a countywide 2015 general obligation bond and a state bond in 2014, Alex Sanchez Hall at Doña Ana Community College is seeing renovations that make the building more functional, more efficient and better suited to educate students.

The total cost for the project, which included extensive remodeling, building stabilization, roof work as well as a new fire alarm system, totaled $4.95 million.

“Thanks to voters for passing the bond issue as the original building at DACC built in 1978 is once again a stable, functional and beautiful place for students to learn,” said Kelly Brooks, DACC Vice President of Business and Finance. “There are new classrooms which are refreshed and refurbished with new chairs, tables and projectors and a brand new water technology laboratory.”

The crown jewel of the construction is a new state of the art water technology laboratory. The renovated laboratory includes two water plants, an Ultra-Pure water purification plant which was already in place. In the past, the system prepared students to go into the microchip manufacturing industry with companies such as Intel, Motorola and Kurita America. As water becomes scarcer, the cleaning of brackish or highly contaminated water is beginning to utilize this technology

The second water plant is a new $150,000 wastewater treatment plant which includes a nutrient removal system. Nutrients impact the environment and potentially public health. The plant is designed to remove nitrogen-ammonia and nitrates. The system converts ammonia to nitrates and then removes the nitrates through the process of denitrification. The plant is a small version of what students will experience on the job upon graduation.

“This renovation gives students a leg up when moving to the workforce and reflects a quality educational experience,” said Terry Mount, director of Commercial Technologies. “The up-to-date nature of the facility will instill a sense of pride in our students.”

The addition of the new plant will enhance the student experience, according to Celina Apodaca, a former water tech student and current lab technician. “The wastewater package plant will give students the opportunity to develop their skills for wastewater treatment plant operation through the biological, chemical and physical analysis of wastewater.”

Celina Apodaca is the lab technician for DACC’s water technology lab.