HOBBS, N.M. (KRQE) – The Hobbs School Board has approved a plan to build a new middle school. It’s a necessity to keep up with the growing population there.

“At that time, we had two middle schools that were over 1,000 students attending every day for campuses that were built for 700 to 750,” says Superintendent Gene Strickland. The superintendent says, in the last seven years, they’ve struggled to keep up with the population boom – seeing 1,500 more students over that time.

That’s in a district of 10,000 students. With two schools already bursting at the seams and a third getting close, they are trying to plan ahead.

“Our projection shows that we’ll continue to grow as a community and so we’re not tasked with maintaining our existing facilities, but we’re also tasked with additional square footage – which is a great problem to have, honestly,” Strickland says.

The district has already built a new elementary school and replaced another with a bigger building. They’ve also remodeled and expanded the high school, but this is the first big addition to classroom space at the middle school level.

The current middle schools are 60 to 87 years old. The board plans to ask the public to approve a bond to build the school at an estimated cost of $60 million.