Mesalands board tables future action on lease


June 24, 2020

The Mesalands Community College board of trustees approved a purchase requisition on an $81,000 lease on the Stampede Village student-housing complex but tabled future action on the property because of uncertainty from the coronavirus pandemic.

The board approved a purchase requisition with Tillman Enterprises of Clovis for the property during its June 16 meeting. The meeting was held by video conferencing because of COVID-19 restrictions.

Board Chairman Jim Streetman said he was hesitant to approve the requisition because ongoing social-distancing restrictions and other problems caused by the pandemic may render the 12-unit Stampede Village empty or underused this fall.

“We may not be able to use that thing,” Streetman said.

Streetman recommended the board and college’s legal department contact the property owner to seek alternatives or renegotiate the lease terms in the future.

Amanda Hammer, vice president of administrative affairs, said the college’s current arrangement with Tillman Enterprises doesn’t expire until July 31, 2023. Hammer noted state law may forbid the college from having a contract for that long.

Board members Liz Estrada, Jimmy Sandoval and Theresa Stephenson agreed with Streetman and approved a motion to approve the purchase requisition and to look for alternatives or renegotiate the pact with Tillman. Board member Craig Currell was absent.

On a related note, acting president Natalie Gillard said it remained unknown whether Mesalands will reopen with in-person classes this fall. Current COVID-19 restrictions disallow more than five people in a room. She said the college may have to go to online classes or other alternative methods.

“There is a lot of uncertainty with what the fall looks like at this point,” Gillard said.

In other business by the board:

• It approved rodeo coach Matt Hughes’ request to buy a pickup truck for the team for $53,034 from the Chris Nikel Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram Fiat of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Hughes had been using his personal truck to transport hay and livestock to rodeo meets for three years. Hughes’ vehicle has 400,000 miles on it.

Hughes and Streetman noted the Nikel bid was $900 more than one submitted by Tillery Chevrolet GMC of Moriarty, but Tillery’s truck wouldn’t be available for delivery for nine to 12 months because of COVID-19. Hughes said Nikel’s truck could be picked up with little advance notice.

The Mesalands board tabled action on the truck purchase during its May meeting because it wanted more clarification on the bids.

• Aaron Kennedy, vice president of student affairs, presented the spring 2020 persistence report. He said some data of the report were skewed because of the early shutdown of in-person classes in April because of COVID-19. The report states Mesalands had more than 800 prospective students on its recruiting list.

• It approved a $45,847 purchase requisition with Atkinson & Co. of Albuquerque for the college’s annual audit for fiscal year 2020.

• It approved an Open Meetings Act resolution for the 2021-2020 fiscal year. There was no change from the previous year’s resolution except for the dates.

• It scheduled a special meeting for 5:30 p.m. July 8 to hold an executive session. Board members didn’t specify the meeting’s purpose, but such sessions behind closed doors are allowed for personnel matters, litigation or acquiring real estate. Josh McVey, the college’s director of public relations, stated in a text the meeting’s agenda would be revealed a few days before.


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