Gym may raise cost of new Farmington High

Joshua Kellogg
Construction continues on the new Farmington High School project in this Aug. 31 photo.

FARMINGTON — The new Farmington High School project has encountered a problem with the location of the new gymnasium, an issue that could raise the cost an estimated $1.8 million.

Sanjay Engineer, the FBT Architects chief architect on the project, said the soil on the site is not favorable for a standard foundation, and additional work to prepare the site is necessary.

“Because the soil condition is poor, special deep foundation (work) such as drilled piers would be required, which adds additional cost to the project,” Engineer said.

Ted Lasiewicz, the district's chief of operations, informed members of the district’s Board of Education about the issues with the $73 million project during their Thursday meeting.

He told board members the project has run into a “geo-technical” problem with the location for the new competition gymnasium on the northeast corner of the campus.

In an email Tuesday, Lasiewicz said workers discovered loose shale. Preparing the site for the gym will require extensive and unplanned work for the building’s foundation, he said.

In addition to deep foundation work, Lasiewicz said new concrete footers will need to be installed under the entire gym floor and walls to support the building, and to prevent foundation movement.

Superintendent Gene Schmidt said it was important for the district to not jeopardize the quality of instructional space, including classrooms, and administrators will investigate ways to reduce costs in parts of the project.

Matt Pendley, an installer for Miller Bonded Inc., works on a portion of the new Farmington High School project on Aug. 31.

The district is currently paying $32 million of the $73 million project, with the state providing $41 million. The district is also funding 100 percent of the cost of the new gymnasium because it goes above the state’s recommendation.

“What’s important to me is we maintain the integrity of our original design and do as much as we can do to reduce costs within the scope of the project and keep the design scheme we originally proposed,” Schmidt said.

The design for the proposed campus calls for buildings to be built around an enclosed courtyard to allow students to safely travel between buildings and decrease outside access to the campus.

The gym would be built into the ground rather than above ground, and would be connected to the current fine arts building and current cafeteria and gym building. The fine arts building and current cafeteria and gym are the only buildings being renovated instead of being demolished and rebuilt.

The district is examining areas of the project that are above adequacy or parts of the project for which the state might not contribute funding.

A portion of the new Farmington High School project is pictured Aug. 31.

Lasiewicz said plans being evaluated include moving power lines along North Sunset Avenue underground, converting the current cafeteria into a new weight room and practice space for the Kelly Greens dance team, renovation of the black box theater in the fine arts building, and possibly reducing the size of the new gym.

Joshua Kellogg covers education for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627.