The New Mexico State University football team has a new and improved locker room this season. Today a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the renovated Allen Family Locker Room officially opened the new facility.
An area that was often bypassed on tours to prospective football student athletes and their families is now a highlight for the Aggie coaches and players with upgraded amenities. A substantial gift from Allen Theatres Inc. funded the locker room improvements and upgraded the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system in the Coca-Cola Weight Training Center.
“We are very appreciative of the Allen family and their efforts, not only financially but in how they support this school and this program because it helps so much,” said NMSU football head coach Doug Martin. “They are always around talking to our players and coaches and encouraging them day in and day out.”
“This is a perfect example of the Allens’ generosity of giving financially, as well as their time and talent, in service to our university,” said NMSU Chancellor Garrey Carruthers. “In addition to this gift that allowed the locker room to be remodeled, Larry Allen serves on the NMSU Foundation Board and the Allen family uses their theaters to help market NMSU. Great universities are built on the foundation of folks like the Allens who consistently and constantly give to NMSU.”
The Allen family has operated movie houses in New Mexico for more than 100 years. Currently, they have 115 screens in 11 communities across the state and Colorado, with three Las Cruces locations – Cineport 10, Telshor 12 and Video 4. Earlier this year, company ownership passed to a fourth generation of Allen family members. Larry’s children Russell Allen, Heather Gandy, Asa Allen, and his nephew, Nathan Allen, took over as co-owners.
“We believe that football is a very important aspect of school. Football is what brings school spirit, what brings loyalty, excitement to a community and among the students as they start and continue their college experience,” said Russell Allen, company president. “To us, it’s a very important investment and an investment in Coach Martin and his program.”
The layout for the 3,300-square-foot locker room was reconfigured to provide the team with a modern and open-concept space. New lockers, illuminated signage, sound system, heaters and flooring were installed. Exposing the structure above the low ceiling added almost two feet of height to the room, and the redesigned lighting brightened the facility.
“The renovation to the NM State football locker room has been nothing short of transformational,” said NMSU Director of Athletics Mario Moccia. “I cannot thank the Allen family enough for their generous support of our Aggie football program as well as the Lori Paulson Football Excellence Fund on this project.”
The updated locker room is the latest improvement for Aggie Memorial Stadium. In 2015, a skybox on the east side of the stadium, Club 27, opened. Club 27 was funded exclusively through private donations, including $1 million from Stan Fulton, owner of the Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino, and an additional contribution from Citizens Bank of Las Cruces.
In 2014, NMSU installed new, synthetic turf at Aggie Memorial Stadium, which was funded through another $1 million gift from Fulton along with support from NMSU student activity fees. Additionally, the Coca-Cola Weight Training Center received a massive renovation in 2014 with funds from a substantial gift from Mesilla Valley Transportation and other donors.