During the district's board of education meeting Thursday night, the board approved applying for $11.8 million in state funding to help pay for repairs on Hermosa Middle and Northeast Elementary schools.
The new project could cost an estimated $20 million for both schools.
The schools became available for additional funding after the New Mexico Condition Index ranked both in the top 100 schools in the state most in need of repairs. The new rankings, which were released in January, put Northeast at No. 61 and Hermosa at No. 99.
In a recommendation written to the board members, assistant superintendent of operations James Barfoot said Northeast would receive a general remodel of the older parts of the building, electrical upgrades and possibly additional classrooms as enrollment increases. Hermosa will remodel the kitchen, offices and lobby area, art and home economics classrooms, gym, stage and locker rooms, as well as replace a sewer line replacement.
Marilyn Strube from architecture firm Greer Stafford SJCF said she was working with the school district to fully develop the $20 million in repairs and more information would be available in the future.
Barfoot said the school district was unaware of the schools' rankings and their eligibility for additional funding.
"It just came up kind of fast, and we really hadn't planned on it at all,"
The funds would come from the New Mexico Public School Capital Outlay Council.
If approved, the council would pay $11.8 million, or 59 percent of the project, while the school district would pay the remaining 41 percent, or $8.2 million.
Both schools were approved as priority projects for funding in the 2010 bond election, with $4.4 million earmarked for Northeast and $3.7 million for Hermosa. The district initially estimated $8.2 million in repairs to the two schools and planned to ask the state council to fund 59 percent of that, allowing the district to save the remaining $4.78 million.
Ted Lasiewicz, regional manager for the state's public schools facilities authority, spoke during the meeting and encouraged the district to apply for a larger amount of money. Lasiewicz said the state department would like to see school district make a larger effort to remodel the schools as one large project, rather than two smaller projects.
The new project stems from the familiar situation. After Farmington High dropped to No. 51 on the New Mexico Condition Index in 2011, the district received funding for the professional design services of the new school.
"We owe it to our taxpayers to go out and take a shot at it," Barfoot said. "We were already planning on doing major work on both of those schools."
Joshua Kellogg may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 505 564-4627. Follow him on Twitter @jkelloggdt.