FARMINGTON —Farmington High School can now start the first phase in creating its new facility.

The Public Schools Capital Outlay Council recently awarded Farmington Municipal Schools $3.1 million to begin the project.

"We're very fortunate to have that assistance," Janel Ryan, superintendent of Farmington municipal schools, said of the funding.

The first phase procures professional architects and engineers for the project who will map-out the design and meet government regulations for the new public school facility. The total cost of phase one is nearly $5.4 million.

The Public Schools Capital Outlay Council, or PSCOC, is part of the New Mexico Public School Facilities Authority that assists school districts in planning, construction and maintenance of school facilities. They provide competitive funding based on set criteria. Their funding makes up 59 percent of the Farmington High School's total phase one cost.

0002000005250000040051F,James Barfoot, the assistant superintendent of operation, said the process to acquire the funding was fairly complicated.

"We're always nervous," Barfoot said of acquiring funds. "Not all schools are successful. We can't proceed without it."

An application was sent in April. In May, the council visited the site. In June, Barfoot and a delegation from the district presented a plan to the council, and in July the funding was awarded, he said.

"We do our homework and study for it like it's a final exam," Barfoot said of presenting to the council.

Local funding from bond money will make up the other 41 percent, adding an additional $2 million for the first phase.

Sandy Schumacher, the board president for the district, said the PSCOC funding was "extremely important" to the school.

"We wouldn't be able to build without the help of the state," Schumacher said. "I have a lot of confidence in the (Farmington Municipal schools) administration."

Phase two and three of the project include the bidding from construction companies, construction of the new school and then the final completion. The new school will take 5 to 6 years to complete at a total project cost of $53.7 million.

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