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Architecture Firm Turns 50

5-16-16 - Carlsbad, NM - Focus Magazine, By Kyle Marksteiner:  The firm’s history in Carlsbad actually began in 1951, when Kern Smith first opened his architectural firm here. Beryl Durham joined in 1956. According to his wife, Wanda, he’d originally just planned to stay a couple years, but things went well, and he became a partner a decade later.

Kern retired in 1983, and the firm became Beryl Durham & Associates, P.A. the following year. That’s also when the firm moved its office to its present location at 102 N. Canyon Street.


Wanda Durham first began working with the firm as a subcontracted interior designer and then later as an employee. She and Beryl were married in 1993. She’d actually known Kern prior to meeting Beryl, when she was an affiliate of the firm.

After Beryl’s death in 2006, the firm was reorganized as Durham & Associates Architects, Inc.


“I had been instructed (by Beryl) to lock the door and get someone to help me,” Durham reflected. “The reason I went against his wishes was because of the employees who had been here for a long time and to keep that legacy going that began with Kern and then Beryl.”


Frank Mackay, who has more than 30 years of architectural experience, joined the firm as the Architect in Responsible Charge in the summer of 2013. Two years later the firm became Durham Mackay Architects, Inc.


The firm now operates through a partnership between Durham and Mackay, with Durham also serving as marketing manager.


Mackay originally began his professional career in jewelry sculpture, but he returned to the UNM School of Architecture, graduating in 1980. The two fields are similar in that they both involve 3D design, he noted.


Rounding out the firm’s staff are Beau Barker, who serves as project manager out of the Albuquerque suboffice; Juan Dorado, project manager in Carlsbad; Francelia (Sally) Carrasco, who is Carlsbad’s production specialist; and Janice Pope, Carlsbad’s office manager. Jessica Charland serves as the CAD designer consultant.

Durham Mackay Architects still spends a significant amount of time designing Southeastern New Mexico municipalities and school districts along with some industrial and commercial projects.


Mackay noted it is an industry that has seen a large number of technological changes over his career. “I was a draftsman, and we only worked on paper,” he observed. “After that, it was AutoCAD. Now it is all technology driven. It is quite astounding what we’ve come to.”

Still, the principles are the same, and plenty of sketches can still be spotted around the firm. Architecture is a heavily-regulated industry, and each assignment includes a well-defined step-by-step process. Mackay noted the firm is popular for its policy of closely collaborating with the customer throughout each phase.


One of the firm’s projects of interest is the effort to restore the Cavern Theatre. Regular updates are posted at


Fridays are special days at the firm. “Our office makes it a rule that everybody gets to work on the design,” Mackay stated. “We’ll close off the front of the office and stop calls for a bit, and we’ll all work together.”


“We’ve gone through some changes, but they have been pretty good changes,” Durham concluded. “I’m very excited about this team that [has been] put together and the service they are going to give Southeastern New Mexico.”

Loving to Build School Administration Building

2-19-16 - Loving, NM - Carlsbad Current Argus, By Maggie Hayden:  The administration at Loving Municipal Schools will soon be enjoying more room.


The Loving school board unanimously approved a price proposal of $1.3 million from Hobbs-based company Dalco, Inc., for the construction of a new administration building.


"We're really excited about the advantages this is bringing to the district," said Superintendent Ann Lynn McIlroy.


The administration is currently housed in the high school. Board meetings are held in the same room as the desk belonging to the district's business manager Oralia Galindo, which makes for a very tight fit during meetings.


"We are going to have an awesome board room," McIlroy said.


The administration building is being funded by a 2013 bond issue of $2 million, designed for the purpose of constructing this building and other renovations in the district.


Work on the school was procured through a job order contracting process through Cooperative Education Services.


McIlroy said in that process, costs are already fixed so no bidding is necessary.

"We've had some issues with low bid construction in our district in the past," McIlroy said.

She also said working through the Cooperative Education Services provides more oversight for the project.


"We're not construction experts," McIlroy said of the administration and school board.

McIlory said another benefit to the new building will be additional security at the high school.


"By moving us out of here (the high school), we're going to be able to have a more secure space for our students," McIlroy said, adding people often visit the administration for sales calls or deliveries. "That's critical in this day and age."


Durham Mackay Architects in Carlsbad is providing architectural services.

Project manager Juan Dorado, a Loving High School graduate, said helping his Alma mater has made the project more enjoyable.


"It's been great to see the other side of the administration," Dorado said.

The new building will be located near the elementary school at the corner of Cottonwood Street and Sixth Street.


McIlroy said the groundbreaking ceremony will be at 10 a.m. March 8 and construction will actually begin the following week. She said construction is expected to be finished in September.


McIlroy said Loving's support of the schools was integral to getting this project started.

"The community of Loving has done a remarkable job of supporting their schools," McIlroy said. "I think that is something the Village of Loving can be very proud of."


Maddy Hayden can be reached at 575-628-5512.

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