FARMINGTON — Farmington Municipal Schools is beginning the search for architects for the $23 million project to renovate Hermosa Middle School and Northeast Elementary School.

The New Mexico Public School Capital Outlay Council awarded about $2.3 million to the district on July 25 for the first phase of renovating the two schools.

The total renovation work for Northeast is projected to cost about $12.7 million, and Hermosa will cost about $10.2 million. The state will provide 59 percent of the funding, or about $13.5 million.

Farmington schools chief of operations Ted Lasiewicz said the next step for the district is to secure architects for the project.

Hermosa Middle School, located at 1500 25th Street in Farmington, was recently awarded funding for renovations. The work at Hermosa is expected to cost
Hermosa Middle School, located at 1500 25th Street in Farmington, was recently awarded funding for renovations. The work at Hermosa is expected to cost about $10.2 million. (Jon Austria The Daily Times)

The first phase of funding covers hiring an architect and producing construction documents. Once the design is complete, the school district plans to apply for the remainder of the $23 million.

"The process of selecting architects and (the) design itself will probably take about nine to 10 months," Lasiewicz said.

The school district has been working since March on preparing paperwork to file with the state for funding assistance. The funds were available because Hermosa and Northeast were among the top 100 New Mexico schools most in need of repairs. The New Mexico Condition Index rated Northeast at No. 61 and Hermosa at No. 99.

The focus at Northeast will be building additional classrooms to handle increases in enrollment, which forced eight portable classrooms to be installed on the campus grounds.

"New classrooms should help alleviate the need for all those portables in the future," Lasiewicz said.

With additional classrooms being constructed, more support, restrooms and storage space would be required.

Also proposed for Northeast are upgrades to the electrical system, installing a sprinkler system for fire suppression and a general remodel of the older parts of the building.

Hermosa could see a remodel of facilities like its lobby, offices, kitchen, gymnasium, stage and locker rooms, along with art and home economics classrooms. Replacement of the school's sewer line and renovation of the heating and air conditioning are also possible improvements.

Joshua Kellogg covers education for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 and jkellogg@daily-times.com. Follow him @jkelloggdt on Twitter.