DOROTHY N. FOWLER/NEWS-SUN
The New Mexico Junior College board had a busy Thursday night board meeting prior to Christmas.
Board members adopted a multimillion dollar renovation/building plan for different parts of the campus, approved a document that will allow administrators to evaluate professional teaching staff performance, accepted the resignation of long-term Western Heritage Museum education director Mary Lyle, and approved hiring two new employees at the regular meeting.
Interim president of the college, Steve McCleery, asked for approval of three NMJC capital projects:
• Planning, Design, FF&E, Demolition and Construction of the New Mexico Junior College cafeteria and kitchen area at a projected cost of $8,905,000
• Planning, Design, Demolition and Construction of a 100 – bed campus housing project at an estimate cost of$13,658,400;
• Planning, Design, Demolition and Construction of Landscaping, Security, Lighting, Water usage, at an estimated cost $9,247,500.
McCleery requested the board approve moving funds from reserves to bring the above referenced projects to the requested levels.
• $5,900,000 be transferred into the New Mexico Junior College Cafeteria and Kitchen Remodel.
• $4,160,000 be transferred into the New Mexico Junior College Campus Housing Project.
• $8,120,000 be transferred into the New Mexico Junior College Landscaping fund.
“Once you approve these three projects, NMJC will contract with Dekker/Perich/Sabatini Architects, for the design, FF&E, planning and construction documents. For NMJC to present these capital projects to the NMHED Capital Projects Committee, design documents must be at 90 percent completion,” McCleery said. “Prior to starting construction on these projects, we will submit the final construction documents and the recommended General Contractor and bid amount for your review and approval.”
Trustee Manny Gomez asked how the proposed projects fit into the master plan for the college. He was told that the Master Plan amendment included in these projects “is the product of two ongoing NMJC planning processes.”
“First, the NMJC capital project planning sessions held on Nov. 1 and Nov. 2, in Hobbs to align ongoing and future capital projects with the goals of the master plan, recent changes in the NMHED (New Mexico Higher Education Department) capital project process and the post-COVID needs of the Institution,” McCleery said. This group consisted of: Dr. Steve McCleery, Dr. Charley Carroll, Josh Morgan, Dan Hardin, Bill Kunko, Dennis Kelly, Scotty Holloman, and Matt McKim – Dekker/Perich/Sabatini.
“Second, NMHED has recently revised their evaluation criteria for annual capital outlay funding requests requiring a level of planning NMJC is currently performing but wasn’t fully documented in this master plan or recent submissions. NMJC will upload an electronic copy of this master plan and addendum through NMHED’s Capital Funding Request Management System (CFRMS). Aligning with the NMHED criteria will provide NMJC with greater opportunity to receive General Obligation Bond and Severance Tax Bond funding,” McCleery said.
After limited discussion, the board voted unanimously to approve the proposed projects and to move the requested funds as recommended by McCleery.
Without commenting on what may have precipitated a perceived need for formal documentation of employee and professional staff performance, the board adopted forms that encourage non-professional staff to set goals to would help them “stay focused” and an evaluation system of professional teaching staff using a form recommended by the Center for Community College Student Engagement.
Non-professional staff are to be evaluated by their immediate supervisors and professional teaching staff are to be evaluated after classroom observation by college administrators. The board adopted the evaluation system unanimously.
Mary Lyle, who has served as education director at Museum of the Southwest and Lea County Hall of Fame, will retire March
31. She has coordinated visits of school and other groups to exhibits at the museum and is well-known among the adult population for her introduction of the classic films presented each week on Sunday afternoons before the COVID19 pandemic ended the presentations.
Interim vice president for instruction, Jeff McCool, and McCleery asked the board to approve aligning next year’s Thanksgiving holiday with the public school holidays. The board approved the proposal without any dissenting vote.
The board also approved hiring Raquel B. Valenzuela to be media production coordinator for the college at an annual salary of $40,000. Valenzuela earned a Bachelor of Science degree in digital filmmaking and theater from Eastern New Mexico University in Portales, and is currently employed by NMJC as the technical director facilitating the Livestream crew for college athletics.
In addition, board members approved moving Vance Onsurez from his position as part time cosmetology instructor to full time instruction at a salary of $41,488 per year.
After concluding the public meeting, the board met in closed session to deal with a personnel matter but did not take any action. It adjourned without comment.