Board to discuss deeding land for Mesalands dorm


November 27, 2019

The Tucumcari Public Schools board of education in future meetings will discuss the possibility of deeding land used for an annual pep-rally bonfire to Mesalands Community College so it can build a 100-unit dormitory.

Schools superintendent Aaron McKinney told the board during its regular meeting Nov. 18 the college’s president, John Groesbeck, wants to offer more collegiate sports, but the lack of on-campus housing hinders that effort. Constructing a dorm would help resolve that problem.

Mesalands offers rodeo as a collegiate sport and will add golf next spring. Groesbeck has expressed his desire to eventually add volleyball and track and field, as well.

McKinney said Groesbeck will formally ask the board at the board’s December or January meeting to donate a tract of land south of the old armory building, now owned by Mesalands and being converted to a student center, to the college to build the dorm.

The vacant property owned by the school district is used during the fall for a bonfire and pep rally before its homecoming football game.

McKinney said Groesbeck’s proposal can be added as a discussion item for a future board meeting in December or January, depending on whether Groesbeck is in town. The board’s next scheduled meeting is Dec. 16.

Board president Carlos Romero said he was inclined to let new members of the school board decide on the proposal after they are seated in January.

Romero, who declined to run for re-election, is one of three outgoing members. Corinne Hayes, who was absent from the meeting, also declined to run for re-election. Newcomers Victor Matthew Pacheco and Bo William Wallace will replace Romero and Hayes, respectively, after being unopposed in their elections. Jerry Joe Lopez defeated a third board member, Fernando Ureste, in that election.

In other business:

• McKinney said a water pipeline leak that developed in late October at the city’s water tower near Tucumcari Elementary School has damaged the school’s parking lot.

He said an engineer soon will examine the lot, and insurance adjusters from the city and school district are conferring with each other about repairs and a possible settlement.

McKinney said he was worried about the lot’s soil stability from weeks of saturation and whether long-term problems could occur there and to nearby buildings.

“I don’t know the extent of the damage,” he said.

• McKinney said a plan to acquire land from the city for a proposed ballpark redevelopment has been put on hold temporarily because he’s encountered trouble booking a surveyor for the site. Voters in the school district are scheduled to vote on $3 million bond issue for the project in a Feb. 18 special mail-in election.

• The board without discussion unanimously approved a final reading of a policy about public participation at board meetings.

Those who wish to comment before the board must complete a Request to Address Board form and give it to the superintendent before the meeting. The board president may set a time limit of three minutes per speaker or 30 minutes for a presentation.

The policy states “only items on the current agenda will be permitted to be addressed.” It also states: “Personal attacks upon Board members, staff personnel or other persons in attendance or absent by individuals who address the board are discouraged. Presenters are cautioned that statements or representations concerning others that convey an unjustly unfavorable impression may subject the presented to civil action for defamation.”

• Board member Heather Gonzales said she’s heard concerns from residents who “aren’t feeling informed” about the Feb. 18 election. McKinney said he soon would publish a pamphlet about the proposed bond issue to be distributed at Tucumcari businesses, plus give information to media outlets. He said the pamphlet would be strictly informational; the district is not allowed to hold any position about the bond issue.


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