FARMINGTON — San Juan College is one step closer to breaking ground on a new School of Energy building on its main campus.

During the college board meeting Tuesday night, board members approved submitting a proposal for the School of Energy Center to the New Mexico Higher Education Department.

The proposal for the approximately $15 million facility is required to be sent 30 days before the state's higher education department holds the approval meeting on July 10.

Steve Biernacki, senior director of the college's physical plant, said once the state approves the proposal, work can be begin on hiring an architecture and construction firm for the new building.

"It will allow us to go out for requests for proposals," Biernacki said. "The college feels very excited for the project."

Biernacki said that the proposal will be submitted is only a concept, offering preliminary floor and site plans.

The project is being developed using a design/build style to handle the aggressive proposed completion date of April 2015. Construction is expected to start in February 2014.

The projected 52,553-square-foot building will be on the north side of the college's main campus, located north of the Quality Center for Business off College and Piñon Hills boulevards.

The building will house classrooms, laboratories, training centers, offices for faculty and staff and support spaces. Included in the site development plan are exterior hands-on simulation class labs.

Three off-campus sites around Farmington will be centralized in the proposed building, bringing together all the School of Energy programs -- except the commercial driver's license program -- under one roof. Biernacki said the CDL program will be more appropriately staged at the Hutton Street facility.

Donations account for about $10 million of the building's projected costs. BP America Gas donated $5 million, and Merrion Oil & Gas and the Westmeath Foundation each gave $1 million.

 

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