New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson has approved two financial appropriations for Mesalands Community College sending an additional $240,000 to the community college. The funds will be divided between the college’s Dinosaur Museum with $100,000 and intercollegiate athletics with $140,000.
According to spokesman for Mesalands John Yearout, in obtaining the funds, the Tucumcari community college will attain parity with other institutions in the state.
Mesalands President Phillip O. Barry, Ph.D., said when he visited with legislators in Santa Fe during the recent session, he pointed out two things that he felt were glaring inequities.
Previously, Mesalands has been the only institution of higher education in the state not receiving any state funding for their athletic program, a highly-respected rodeo program. In addition, for years the Blackwater Draw Museum near Portales has received state funds even though it has a much lower attendance than the Mesalands’ Dinosaur Museum.
“The college has used general funds appropriations to support the museum and rodeo activities,” said Barry. “Obtaining these funds will now allow us more flexibility in our budget and permit us to increase the amount in the Fund Balance.”
On the heels of the news about the appropriation funds came word that Mesalands Community College will also receive an additional $88,000 from the state severance tax fund for facility infrastructure improvements.
Another $600,000 has also been approved and will be placed on the Government Obligation Bond ballot in November. Upon passing of the bond, those funds will be combined with the $800,000 GO Bond approved last year, and will be used for the planned expansion of Building A to create a large instructional and meeting facility on the west side of the building. The expansion is the first phase of several modification and expansion projects planned for the college.
“The board of trustees is very pleased with how the legislators have embraced the college on these important financial issues,” said Chairperson Dr. Muriel Latham-Pfeifer.
Barry said that appreciation is not limited to legislators, however.
“We are appreciative of all of the Tucumcari area citizens who contacted Governor Richardson’s office in support of the college,” said Barry.