University students help city with revitalization projects on west end of town

October 16, 2018 - Matt Robinson


DEMING – Architecture and design students from two universities are part of an ongoing project with the City of Deming to revitalize the west end of town.

About 20 students from the School of Architecture and Design at University of New Mexico and Woodbury University/San Diego met with city officials recently as part of the project. They were joined by staff from the schools and city officials, including Mayor Benny Jasso, Councilor Victor Cruz and Aaron Sera, city administrator, to discuss planning the first phase of the conceptual design for incubator and revitalization project.

Sera explained how the area under review includes the city’s western access to Interstate 10, which sees upwards of 60,000 vehicles pass a day in both directions. Establishing a business incubator and improving the area will provide benefits for the community, including attracting and serving visitors off the interstate.

The concept calls for an anchor business that can teach and model business techniques to foster the development of other businesses in the area. “This collaboration is bringing top notch design and planning to the city,” Sera said. “The project is helping grow our relationship with the schools and save taxpayer money on professional services.”

Students from both universities have collaborated for three years in Southern New Mexico as a team known as Plata Studio, Stan Bertheaud, Architecture professor at Woodbury, said. They visited Deming with UNM Dean and Professor of Architecture Geraldine Forbes Isais and Silver City native, Tim Castillo, a UNM associate dean. The team presented potential designs created by the students and discussed issues facing the community with city officials.

“Deming's history as a railroad town and its current position as a crossroads city make it an ideal canvas for specific academic and architectural incubator projects,” Bertheaud said. “The enthusiasm and knowledge of Deming's city leaders and the experience and design savvy of Plata Studio make us ideal working partners.”

He added that the Deming visit has been one the “most productive and inspiring” meetings during the project.

The meeting included an in-depth look at the city overall using maps, with an emphasis on connectivity, infrastructure, parks and how green spaces might be improved.

Sera said part of the study includes where to place a splashpad, which would bring another water-based recreation facility to the community. For more information about the student project, visit