School board talks about master plan

By Kevin Wilson: Quay County Sun

Tucumcari School Board members viewed a presentation of the facilities master plan during Monday’s board meeting.

Architectural Research Consultants, Inc, of Albuquerque is building a master plan for Tucumcari, and two representatives came to the meeting to present growth and enrollment projections and building utilization, among other items.

Stephen Burstein, a planner with ARC, gave projections that Tucumcari’s school population would be more likely to decrease in coming years because the average age of a Quay County resident is higher than the state averages, which lessens the chance of residents having school-age children.

The median age of a Quay County resident, Burstein said, is 41.5 years old, and the median age of a Tucumcari resident is 39.4 years. Those figures compare to a state median age of 34.6 years.

With the population decrease in recent years and in future projections, ARC architect William C. Winkler said Tucumcari was in a position that few schools are in. The school system, Winkler said, has adequate space and is equipped for population growth, if any results from the Ute Lake Ranch or other businesses that may come to Tucumcari and Quay County.

The master plan had recommendations that the biggest future renovations should include Building Units A, B and C at the high school. Board member Doug Powers said he felt the planners had not adequately considered replacing Rattler Gym, which Powers said is one of the oldest high school sporting facilities in the state.

“You go to Santa Rosa, you look at their $5 million facility,” Powers said. “You go to Texico and see their $3 million facility, and then you come to our facility …”

Winkler responded that a future revision of the master plan could certainly include plans to replace Rattler Gym and that the Board is more than welcome to add input on the gym or other elements of the master plan.

Many tasks are included before the plan would be finalized, including a determination of capital priorities and a review of district capital resources for the school district.

In other business at the meeting:

• Board members reviewed a board policy revision regarding competitive food sales and vending machines. Citing student wellness, the National School Lunch Act and the Child Nutrition Act require the district to examine vending machine sales and food sales.

Superintendent William Reents said high-sugar soft drinks are one of the most targeted items in the acts. Board member Marty Garcia asked if modifications would put them in any breach of contract with Pepsi, but Reents said the soft drink companies have alternative beverage choices should schools request them.

• The board accepted a donation of fitness equipment from golf coach Howie Tucker. The system, generally purchased for home use, converts for usage in several exercises. Tucumcari High School Athletic Director Wayne Ferguson said the system would mainly be used in rehabilitation situations.