ANTELOPE WELLS, N.M. (KRQE) - The newly renovated, $15 million border crossing facility in New Mexico's lonely Bootheel was supposed to be open for business almost a year ago.
Instead, Customs and Border Patrol agents run the point of entry on the New Mexico-Mexico border at Antelope Wells out of trailers because federal planners overlooked one major detail: power.
"I think we've done as well as we could with the situation at hand," said Tom Plummer, who now heads up the project for the Army Corps of Engineers.
Because the project grew and grew, it wasn't until final construction plans were in place that the Corps realized the facilities would need more than twice the amount of power the old system used. And to supply that power, the Corps had to request a line upgrade from the Columbus Electric Co-Op in Deming.
But Corps officials couldn't figure out a way around their own bureaucracy in order to be able to sign that simple agreement. So the project languished for months.
Chris Martinez, the co-op's executive vice-president and general manager, said the application process for line upgrades is straightforward.
"Individuals navigate their way through our process," Martinez said. "So it's not a complicated process."
Martinez said after the Corps submitted the original line upgrade application, the co-op provided a price estimate. But time expired, so the process had to start again.
Finally, the Corps of Engineers received help from an arm of the General Services Administration that deals with utilities. So after the year delay, construction of the line upgrade finally started last week.
Officials are hoping to get power to the new buildings early next year.
"This project has its challenges," Plummer said. "I believe that this project right now is on schedule for the power coming in and for getting completed."
The delay added an extra $500,000 to the project's $15.6 million price tag.
The Antelope Wells facility was a tiny cinderblock outpost. The new facility features an 11,000-square-foot building, as well as a 5,000-square-foot forward operating base for the Border Patrol.
The new facilities are meant to provide more law enforcement presence along the border.
Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., initially touted the project in 2009 as a way to "take aggressive action to combat the flow of guns and drugs across the border." Three years later, Bingaman said he's not happy about the delay but is glad it's back on track.
"I am disappointed that they don't yet have electricity, the electrical hook-up that they need for the permanent facilities," he said.
An emotional mother is still waiting for answers about what happened to her missing daughter.
The federal jury weighing a life or death sentence for convicted killer John McCluskey has announced it couldn't reach a decision.
New details about the two New Mexico men arrested Tuesday for the murder of a Texas woman.
They are two coaches building their respective football programs.
It was a Food Network show that inspired some students at Sandia High School.
Albuquerque will soon be getting a new library, the first one built here in decades.