FARMINGTON — With snow on the ground, construction workers at the new Tibbetts Middle School have been focusing their attention on the interior of the building as the project approaches completion.
Assistant Superintendent of Operations James Barfoot said Jaynes Companies, contracted to build the school, is approximately 75 percent complete.
The estimated budget for the two-story building and adjoining facilities is $34 million, with the school district picking up roughly $14 million of the project and $20 million provided by the state.
Giant heaters have been placed at specific points within the school to maintain a warm temperature for future work on the Twin Peaks Boulevard campus.
“What they are worried about right now is keeping the building warm, because the floors have to be a certain temperature to lay tile,” Barfoot said.
The building is roughly 98,000 square feet according to Barfoot, about 8,000 square feet larger than the current Tibbetts building, which is showing its age.
“That staff at Tibbetts, they have been in that building for 76-77 years. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was president when we built that building,” Barfoot said. “Some of those teachers have been down there in the old building for 20 years, they deserve a new building.”
During a walk-through, workers were painting the walls in the gym and moving their elevated work platform through the front lobby applying another coat of paint around the windows facing the south side of the building.

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Walking down one of the hallways visitors can see major work completed with lockers lining the walls and workers installing ceiling panels with strings of temporary lights guiding their way. A peek into one of the classroom showed dry-erase boards installed with large floor-to-ceiling windows providing illumination.
In fact, the hallways are the only areas without direct light as big windows line the stairwells, classrooms and the cafeteria, allowing copious amounts of sunlight into the building.
“We put a lot of windows in it to take advantage of the views out there,” Barfoot said. “You can see Mount Hesperus, you can see Arizona from there and the Chuska's (mountain range).”
Barfoot's favorite thing about the design of the building is how the floor plan of the school forms a “V” like shape, allowing school officials to have a clear line of sight down both hallways.
“As the school principal, you can stare down there and down to this other wing,” Barfoot said. “You can see if kids are acting up or getting into a fight.”
Workers have completed installation of electricity, sewer, gas and water lines. Connections for phone and data communications still must be finished.
New Tibbetts Middle School is being constructed to accommodate 650 students, with about 500 students currently taking classes at the old building at 312 E. Apache.
The new building will factor into the 2013-2014 school year redistricting plans for Farmington's four middle schools.
“We are redistricting to level out the middle schools,” Barfoot said. “A few years ago -- two to three -- Tibbetts was only (at) 425 students and Hermosa (Middle School) had 125 more (students) than Tibbetts and Heights (Middle School) had 200 more students than Tibbetts.”
To date, $190,000 in student furniture has been ordered with student and teacher desks and chairs taking up the bulk of the order.
Barfoot said he was excited that the building was nearing completion.
“I like when they get into the interior, I like seeing the cabinets, the lockers are in there, it starts looking student-ready then,” Barfoot said.