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Renovation of Hermosa Middle School in Farmington nears completion

Joshua Kellogg
The Daily Times

FARMINGTON — The renovation and expansion of Hermosa Middle School is expected to wrap up in less than a month, giving staff and students a new home in time for the start of school next month.

During a tour of the $19.45 million project Wednesday, construction crews from Jaynes Corp. were finishing many of the interior details on the building and were preparing to construct the school's new outdoor courtyard.

At 94,485 square feet, the remodeled school is just more than 4,100 square feet bigger than the old building, which was 90,329 square feet. But it has eight more classrooms, for a total of 38. The old building had 30 classrooms and five portable classrooms.

The new building can accommodate about 650 students, 40 more than the last enrollment count of 610 students.

The site of the school presented unique issues, said Ted Lasiewicz, the district's chief of operations.

"It was an incredible challenge to make it work on this site," he said.

Crews demolished everything but the north or "C" wing of classrooms and the gymnasium.

The new, three-story core building was built to incorporate existing structures into the design. Students previously had to walk outside to enter the freestanding gym.

The remodeled school has a hallway connecting the front entrance to the renovated gym as a safety precaution.

Lasiewicz said only the "shell" of the gym — the walls and roof and ceiling — were preserved, and everything else was replaced.

Crews also installed new locker rooms, bathrooms, bleachers, a gym floor and heating and air conditioning systems.

The new entrance into the school was designed with safety in mind, Lasiewicz said. Walking into the front foyer, visitors will come across two sets of doors. The main doors will be open before and after school for student use and will be locked when school is in session. Visitors will have to enter the front office through a separate door to sign in before being allowed into the school.

Down the hallway from the front office is a large open space for the cafeteria, kitchen and a commons area with a two-story glass wall looking into the new courtyard area. The outdoor concrete courtyard will feature six basketball hoops and covered picnic tables.

Classrooms for elective classes, like choir and culinary arts, are also located on the ground floor.

The sixth-grade classrooms are located on the third floor, seventh-grade students are on the second floor and the eighth-grade classrooms are in the north wing said David Garner, the Jaynes Corp. assistant superintendent on the project.

The classrooms in the north wing were renovated to include new flooring, ceilings, cabinets and LED lighting to bring them in line with the new classrooms.

"We hope the teachers are nice and surprised when they are assigned to this wing," Lasiewicz said.

Located on the northwest corner of the school, the 10-year-old band classroom was mostly untouched, aside from new carpet and lighting.

Lasiewicz said the district was happy Jaynes Corp. and architecture firm FBT Architects configured the school to fit on the current site.

The building is expected to be finished by Aug. 10 to allow teachers and staff to move in and prepare for the first day of school on Aug. 18.

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.