Work continues on Grace B. Wilson Elementary before new school year

Noel Lyn Smith
The Daily Times

KIRTLAND — Crews will complete placing double portable buildings on the campus of Grace B. Wilson Elementary School by the time the school year starts later this month.

The last four buildings are expected to be delivered to the site from district facilities in Kirtland, Newcomb, Ojo Amarillo and Shiprock starting Tuesday.

Once completed, the 11 units will house 18 classrooms for kindergarten through second grades, as well as a computer room and a small library.

Students enrolled in third through sixth grades will have classrooms inside Grace B. Wilson.

Relocation of the portable buildings started last week, said Dennis Fieldsted, the Central Consolidated School District's building and construction coordinator, on Monday. He added that each one will be in place this week.

Also included in the project are the construction of 10-foot wide sidewalks and ramps, as well as remodeling a section of the school so it provides access to the units.

After the units are in place, Fieldsted said, the district will move in furniture and equipment from Ruth N. Bond Elementary School, which is east of Grace B. Wilson.

The installation is part of the district's plans to combine the Grace B. Wilson and Ruth N. Bond elementary schools. Ruth N. Bond will be demolished to make way for the new Judy Nelson Elementary School.

Fieldsted said FCI Constructors Inc. will manage the demolition of Ruth N. Bond, which is scheduled for next month, as well as the construction of Judy Nelson Elementary.

The gymnasium and music room at Ruth N. Bond will be incorporated into the new school because both are relatively new structures, he said.

Once the new school is completed, which is set for no later than October 2016, it will accommodate up to 715 students from kindergarten through sixth grades.

"That gives us a little leeway, room to grow," Fieldsted said.

CCSD spokesman James Preminger said the district is on time and on target to have the portable buildings in place by the time school starts on Aug. 17.

"We're working hard to get everything done on time," he said.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 and Follow her @nsmithdt on Twitter.