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Draft of Five Year Strategic Plan Approved

Draft of Five Year Strategic Plan Approved photo 5/21/2017 11:43:10 a.m. - Hobbs, NM.  

[Story by Dorothy Fowler - Hobbs News Sun]

New Mexico Junior College board of trustees approved two long-range plans for the college, saw architects’ drawings of the building that will house the school of nursing when it is completed, and approved a request to apply for a grant permitting the college to upgrade teleconferencing equipment used in its distance learning program.

Kelvin Sharp, president of NMJC said Friday morning that he is hopeful construction on the school of nursing’s building will begin late this summer and be completed by the beginning of the 2018-19 school year. The school is scheduled to be located on the north side of the campus between Ray Birmingham Thunderbird Baseball Field and the Western Heritage Museum and Lea County Cowboy Hall of Fame and will cost around $10 million.

When the building is completed, it will be divided into four sections, including classrooms, clinical areas, laboratories and a student lounge. The building will contain 21,000-square feet and will incorporate suggestions from the nursing school’s instructors.

One of the long range plans, called “the strategic plan,” involves setting goals to be met by the college over a five year period. Larry Sanderson, director of institutional effectiveness at NMJC, said college personnel will be working toward achieving three major goals: to create a great student experience; to double program and degree completion rates by 2022; and to increase institutional enrollment to 4,000 credit students by 2020, to increase workforce and professional enrollment and to increase community education enrollments.

Sanderson emphasized that “today’s students want to see results from their investments of time and money. We don’t live in a no-competition world and people can choose other schools.” Completion and implementation of the plan, which will cover 2017-2022 school years, will depend at least in part on what the legislature does in the special session which will convene Wednesday in Santa Fe.

Sanderson will present a final draft of the strategic plan for the board’s approval at the June board meeting.

THE OTHER LONG RANGE PLAN, a five-year capital plan, outlines plans for infrastructure repair and remodeling and eventually, a new housing facility for resident students.

Dan Hardin, executive assistant to the vice president for finance, said the state requires submission of a five-year plan for funding requests, but will allow requests for funding for only two. The two for which the college is requesting state funds involve repair to infrastructure and remodeling McClean Hall after the nursing school moves into its new building.

Infrastructure repairs include electrical, plumbing, lighting, cement, fire alarm upgrades and HVAC operating software for the college central plant and for McLean Hall and Watson Hall. The cost will be $6 million and the college is requesting $4.5 million from the state. Oil and gas revenues and mill levy funds will take care of the other $1.5 million.

Costs of planning, designing and engineering the renovation of McLean Hall will be $3 million. The college is requesting $2.25 million for that project, with the remaining $250,000 to be funded by oil and gas revenues and mill levy funds.

Steven Blandin, director of instructional technology and executive director of Lea County Distance Education Consortium, asked the board to approve an application for a grant to upgrade telecommunications equipment used by the consortium.

His letter to the board read, “The Lea County Distance Education Consortium (LCDEC) is a collaborative group comprised of ENMU, NMJC and public school districts of Hobbs, Eunice, Tatum, Jal and Lovington with NMJC as the acting fiscal agent of LCDEC. LCDEC primarily focuses the various modalities of offering dual credit courses to Lea County high school students. A large concentration of LCDEC’s finances, planning and commitments revolve around live, Interactive TV (ITV) classes.

UNDER CONTRACTUAL AGREEMENT with the J. F Maddox Foundation, LCDEC is obligated to upgrading or replacing the videoconferencing system and computers on a predetermined schedule. In order to adhere to our financial obligations, LCDEC members pay annual dues for equipment purchases and maintenance contracts as well as maintaining a financial projection sheet through year 2030. The projection sheet is retroactively updated with real-world costs when equipment purchases are made from year to year. Although LCDEC is fiscally stable today, we predict the consortium will be unable to remain self-sustaining by year 2030 if mitigation efforts are not taken.

LCDEC’s current options are to a) raise annual dues for all members and/or b) search for additional funding sources. With the current economic uncertainties facing our State and school budgets, cost increases for our members is not a viable option at this time. However, upon researching additional funding sources, the USDA Distance Learning and Telemedicine (USDA-DLT) grant was discovered as a viable solution to keeping LCDEC solvent for the foreseeable future. Furthermore, this grant can be re-applied for, as needed, for additional upgrades in the future.”

Blandin said the grant writer needed the board to give official permission to apply for the grant before going forward.

The board approved the request without discussion.

Dorothy N. Fowler can be reached at 575-391-5446 or education@hobbsnews.com.

Photo: Artistic renderings of the proposed New Mexico Junior College nursing program show it to be a 21,000-square foot building, and will be divided into four sections for classrooms, clinical areas, laboratories and a student lounge. The price tag for the new facility is around $10 million.

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