Base ramp up boosts Clovis Community College enrollment

CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks Claire Burroughes provides an update on city business during Tuesday’s joint city/county luncheon at the Clovis Civic Center.

By Kevin Wilson: CNJ staff writer

A who’s-who of Clovis and Curry County reported on good times and tough times of the past year, and challenges for the next year.

The quarterly city-county luncheon, held Tuesday at the Clovis Civic Center, was the ninth such informal gathering for updates on projects and events in the area.

Becky Rowley, executive vice president of Clovis Community College, offered the most positive news the two-year college has received in years.

Rowley said it was demoralizing to see enrollment decreases over the last few years while Cannon Air Force Base was in a mission transition. But Rowley reported the summer enrollment of 2,133 students was up nearly 25 percent from the same term in 2008 (1,718).

Rowley credited increased enrollment among high-schools and a doubling of the school’s Emergency Medical Services program, in addition to an increase in military personnel from Cannon’s early transition to a special operations base.

“We don’t look at that as an anomaly,” Rowley said, “and we feel it will continue into the fall.”

Others speaking included:

• Ladona Clayton, former deputy superintendent for Clovis Municipal Schools.

Clayton, who is leaving CMS to become superintendent at Clovis Christian School, said many staff members were at a middle school session for the High Schools That Work program. The program focuses on curriculum and instruction improvements, with a new goal of raising standards in career/technical education.

Curry County Manager Lance Pyle.

He said a median beautification project is scheduled for Tuesday, and Interim Special Events Center Director Kevin Jolley said there are 20 events either booked or with reservation holds.

Pyle said the detention center’s annex, which houses female inmates, was near capacity.

Pyle said later in the afternoon additional arrests pushed the annex to 57 female inmates, exceeding the capacity of 52.

Pyle said all 57 inmates have mattresses, and the county will consider contacting other jails for housing options if the number reaches 60.

Pyle was unaware of individual charges, and said he couldn’t speculate on what caused the spike.

There are currently 191 males in the detention center, with a capacity of 220.

• Lisa Dunagan of Clovis MainStreet.

She thanked community members for their help on the organization’s painting beautification project. With volunteers, Dunagan said a $1,500 grant turned into $6,000 worth of work.

She added MainStreet would join efforts to keep the post office open at Gidding Street — a point echoed by city and chamber of commerce officials.

• Ernie Kos, executive director, Clovis/Curry County Chamber of Commerce. She said the Smoke on the Water fireworks show was a success, with donations reaching the $25,000 goal.

Kos also announced tickets are on sale online for the Clovis Music Festival, Sept. 10-13.

• Chase Gentry, executive director of the Clovis Industrial Devlopment Corporation.

He said banks are hesitant to make loans, and it is affecting industrial developers looking at the area.

The counter, Gentry said, is the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act has money for renewable energy projects and those industries are calling, in addition to numerous contractors affiliated with Cannon.

“Were trying to find innovative ways to serve their needs,” Gentry said, noting a Tuesday morning meeting with Lockheed Martin. “Some of their needs are on the base, some are off the base.”

Gentry is also hopeful a business incubator can be established in the city’s industrial park.

• Claire Burroughes, Clovis community relations director.

She said the city should have $6.5 million for replacement of the Hull Street Overpass by Oct. 1.

Also, road improvements on Brady Street are in the final stages, with painting starting Tuesday.