Superintendent: Vandals caused Mesa Alta Junior High School gas leak, closure

Sam Ribakoff
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — Vandalism was the cause of a gas leak that closed Mesa Alta Junior High School Nov. 8 and left the Bloomfield School District to wait for a state inspector to clear the building for occupancy.

Bloomfield School District Superintendent Kimberly Mizell said the school would reopen for classes on Nov. 14 after further repairs are completed. A state inspector arrived Nov. 12 and approved the reopening.

The Bloomfield School District on Nov. 8 evacuated students from the campus due to the gas leak. Mizell said the leak had stemmed initially from an act of vandalism to gas vents on the school's roof committed on Nov. 4. 

Mizell said a crack in the gas vent had been fixed before students were let back into the school on Nov. 5, but that the crack, compounded with the building's age, had caused the gas leak on Nov. 8 that triggered the student evacuation.

Mizell said that the gas leak had been fully fixed on Nov. 12, but, by law, the State of New Mexico required a state inspector to evaluate the building before classes could resume and students could be let back into the school.

Without an alternative site to send students, Mesa Alta students have not attended classes since Nov. 8.

Sam Ribakoff is a visual journalist for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-333-5283 or via email at