FARMINGTON — Parents and students filled the Farmington High School cafeteria Monday night for a community meeting to discuss options for the new high school.

Members of the Farmington Municipal School District administration and representatives from Greer Stafford/SJCF Architecture were on hand to update the community on plans to demolish and rebuild most of the campus buildings. Officials also solicited public input on the design process.

The project is expected to cost $62.2 million.

Ernest and Tawnya Delgado said they attended the meeting to find out what the new school will look like, including how parking and student drop-off will work for their daughter, Kaitlyn.

Farmington High School freshman Noah Manz listens as the school’s principal, Timothy Kienitz, explains the rebuilding of the new high school during a
Farmington High School freshman Noah Manz listens as the school's principal, Timothy Kienitz, explains the rebuilding of the new high school during a community meeting Monday at Farmington High School. (Megan Farmer / The Daily Times)

"It looks nice. They have a lot of good ideas," Tawnya Delgado said. "My concern is the drop-off because I have to drop off my child. I was worried about that."

Ernest Delgado said he was interested in seeing a dedicated area for the Kelly Greens dance squad to train. He also wanted to know how students will attend class while construction is in progress.

"It'll be interesting how they work it out with kids going to school here with construction going on," Ernest Delgado said.

Farmington High Principal Tim Kienitz, as well as the district's Superintendent Janel Ryan and Chief of Operations Ted Lasiewicz, took turns speaking to parents and students about the upcoming Feb. 4 bond election and how the plans for the new high school factor into that election.

Ryan explained the district chose to pursue projects at Farmington High, Northeast Elementary and Hermosa Middle schools because the New Mexico Public School Facilities Authority and Public School Capital Outlay Council would fund the majority of the nearly $100 million price tag for the capital projects at the three schools.

"When someone from the state says to you, 'We'll give you 60 cents on the dollar to build the facilities that we have considered in most need,' it would be very foolish not to do the requirements to not get that assistance," Ryan said.

Farmington High School Principal Timothy Kienitz introduces architects from Greer Stafford/SJCF Architecture on Monday during a community meeting at
Farmington High School Principal Timothy Kienitz introduces architects from Greer Stafford/SJCF Architecture on Monday during a community meeting at Farmington High addressing the design of the new high school. (Megan Farmer/ The Daily Times)

Sergio Meza, a project manager at Greer Stafford, gave an overview of the work the firm has done up to this point, talking about how the Public School Facilities Authority determined most campus buildings are approaching or passed the "end of useful life" stage and will be demolished.

Design Architect Michael Heitman showed four similar options or "design strategies" for the possible campus building layout at Farmington High.

While the locations of classroom buildings, the cafeteria, the office and the fine arts center shift among the four options, all of the options involve the buildings forming a closed circle around an outdoor commons area.

Maria and B.J. Gutierrez, who attended Monday's meeting, said they wanted to make sure fine arts would be represented in the rebuilt campus.

"We feel that the arts and sciences are on the low end of the stick compared to athletics," B.J. Gutierrez said. "We just want to support that and make sure it's getting heard."

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.