The following is from the July 30, 2008, edition of The Taos News.
By Chandra Johnson
Archaeologist Fred Wendorf first found Fort Burgwin on NM 518 when he spotted a button from the uniform of a dragoon soldier on a sagebrush mound in 1956 — almost 100 years after the site was abandoned.
Today, the site is home to Southern Methodist University in Taos campus, and Taoseños may drive past it and never know the treasure that lies just beyond its gates.
“It’s been a long and difficult struggle,” Wendorf said (July 22) of the site that now houses just over 100 students every summer. “We had barely started in 1960 when our benefactor, Ralph Rounds, had started us on building the campus.”
And now, thanks to a new expansion project, Wendorf’s original vision will be helping more students than ever as the school plans to extend its courses from its current summer schedule into a three-month, 15-credit semester in fall 2009. Executive Director Mike Ad - ler says that by renovating the casita-style dorms and introducing cutting-edge technology to SMU-Taos, the school will be introducing an academic standard students have come to expect.
“The bottom line was not our curriculum, the issue was how to get a student who’s used to living in the dorms out here,” Adler said.
And with the brand new Macintosh computer lab on campus, a tennis court in the woods and coming wireless Internet and cell phone service, the education situation will never be as rustic as the campus itself. And with faculty living in the enlisted men’s quarters, students can expect the one-on-one attention they may not get at other colleges.
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