FARMINGTON — Tibbetts Middle School Principal Karen Brown is more than excited about being just one step away from moving into the school's new campus.

Brown shared her excitement over the new building on Twin Peaks Boulevard during a tour of the completed middle school campus, which will open for the 2013-2014 school year. From the two-story windows illuminating classroom halls to the storage rooms in the gym, Brown used words like gorgeous, beautiful and spectacular to describe the building.

She said teachers are eager to move in and are waiting for clearance to start using their new classrooms.

Tibbetts Middle School Principal Karen Brown discusses features of the new science room on Tuesday, June 4, 2013, in Farmington.
Tibbetts Middle School Principal Karen Brown discusses features of the new science room on Tuesday, June 4, 2013, in Farmington. (Augusta Liddic/The Daily Times)

"They want to put their things away," Brown said. "The teachers are so dedicated. All of them told me when they left, they want to put everything away so they feel secure when school starts. They're ready."

It took the plant operations department two and a half day to move boxes -- filled with equipment, books and supplies -- into the new staff rooms.

The school district's assistant superintendent of operations James Barfoot said a sewage line was built from the building to the La Plata Highway area. The school is waiting on the city to finish construction before the building can be certified for occupancy.

Construction of a sewer line is complete, and a sewer lift station is schedule to be completed by the end of the month, said Jeff Smaka, director of public works for the city of Farmington.

Unlike the school's old campus on Apache Street, the main entrance to the new building is next to the front office. The office for the school resource officer is located in the main lobby, right next to the attendance office.

Brown said the old building's layout was problematic for monitoring students for security and safety. In the old campus, the doors remaining unlocked so students could attend band, gym and shop classes.

"It was kind of difficult to maintain, just with the placement of the office itself and trying to watch the door," Brown said.

The new building's two-story floor plan is set up with three wings of classes facing east, west and north. The first floor is set aside for electives, with the sixth-grade classrooms in the north wing. The seventh- and eighth-grade classrooms are upstairs in the west and north wings.

The new Tibbetts Middle School, located on Twin Peaks Boulevard, is seen on Tuesday, June 4, 2013. The new campus will open for the 2013-2014 school year.
The new Tibbetts Middle School, located on Twin Peaks Boulevard, is seen on Tuesday, June 4, 2013. The new campus will open for the 2013-2014 school year. (Augusta Liddic/The Daily Times)

Larger classroom for electives will allow courses, such as food and consumer science, to enroll more students in classes.

"Everyone wants to take food and consumer science. (Teacher Laura Pace) teaches beyond just making cookies," Brown said. "She is teaching them some very strong skills. It's exciting to know she can expand her program."

Elective classes teach students life skills they might not get elsewhere, Brown said.

"They teach them measurement and following directions, how to use tools, they teach them things like how to fill out a job application -- so much more than one could even imagine," Brown said.

A new class for eighth-graders will teach students math, cooking and management skills for catering food for events like teacher meetings.

All the new classrooms come equipped with ceiling-mounted digital projectors. The teachers have a teacher's desk and a conference table located in the back with ample storage cabinets for projects.

Each hallway will have a teacher workroom with a copier, a desk and printers for teachers and students, along with supplies like computer paper and staples. In the old building, those supplies were located in a single location.

Also, a teacher's lounge is located near the administration offices. Brown said the old building did not have a lounge. Now, teachers will be able to eat lunch away from their desks or the cafeteria.

Barfoot said he was happy with the way the project turned out.

The budget for the new campus was $35 million, with funding coming from both the state and the school district. The actual cost, Barfoot said, is expected to come in $2 to $3 million under budget.

"I'm just proud of the whole thing going as well as it did," Barfoot said. "It was under budget and finished ahead of schedule. That's the two big things you look for in a construction project."

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