The Farmington Municipal Schools Board of Education last week approved an architecture firm to work on the Hermosa Middle and Northeast Elementary schools
The Farmington Municipal Schools Board of Education last week approved an architecture firm to work on the Hermosa Middle and Northeast Elementary schools project. The total renovation work for Hermosa is projected to cost 10.2 million. (Daily Times file photo)

FARMINGTON — The Farmington Municipal Schools Board of Education last week approved an architecture firm to work on the Hermosa Middle and Northeast Elementary schools project.

The board on Thursday hired Albuquerque-based FBT Architects to handle the professional design services for the proposed $20 million project. The total renovation work for Hermosa is projected to cost $10.2 million and Northeast will cost about $12.7 million.

Northeast needs additional classrooms to replace its portables, as well as upgrades to the electrical system and a general remodel of the older parts of the building. Hermosa could see a remodel of several areas -- including the lobby, offices, kitchen, gymnasium, stage and locker rooms and art and home economics classrooms -- and other improvements, such as replacing the sewer line and renovating the heating and air conditioning.

Between the two projects, FBT Architects' base fee for both schools is listed at $1.19 million, with $654,844 for Northeast and $535,500 for Hermosa. The fee is based on 6.85 percent of the anticipated maximum construction cost of each project.

The architecture firm will work with the school district to determine the extent of renovation work and new construction following a facility assessment and utilization study, which is scheduled to be completed by December.

Depending on the results of the study, there is a possibility that Northeast might be torn down and rebuilt, said Mike Isaacson, the board's vice president.

"With the way Northeast is, we don't know if we are going to renovate it or replace the whole thing," Isaacson said.

Ted Lasiewicz, the district's chief of operations, said the utilization study will determine the scope of work that needs to be done and whether it is feasible to renovate the schools, or if a new facility will need to be constructed.

"If we reach a certain dollar amount, it negates renovation and favors complete replacement," Lasiewicz said.

The Farmington Municipal Schools Board of Education last week approved an architecture firm to work on the Hermosa Middle and Northeast Elementary schools
The Farmington Municipal Schools Board of Education last week approved an architecture firm to work on the Hermosa Middle and Northeast Elementary schools project. Northeast Elementary needs additional classrooms to replace its portables. (Daily Times file photo)

If renovation work costs about 75 to 80 percent of a new facility, the New Mexico Public Schools Outlay Council might recommend a new facility, said Kelly Jernigan, regional manager at the New Mexico Public School Facilities Authority.

In a memo to the school board, Lasiewicz said the design will be completed on a fast track, with a potential start date for construction near May 2014.

Of the six bids received on the project, three firms -- FBT, as well as Greer Stafford/SJCF and Dekker/Perich/Sabatini -- were selected for interviews conducted on Oct. 1.

Greer Stafford/SJCF is working with the school district on the new Farmington High School project, and Dekker/Perich/Sabatini is working with construction company Jaynes Corporation on the new School of Energy building for San Juan College.

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.