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FARMINGTON — The Central Consolidated School District on Saturday will recognize the history of the building that served as the original Shiprock High School and later as Nataani Nez Elementary School.

The high school was built in 1965, and, decades later, it became an elementary school. The district closed it in May 2010, and demolition has now started on the building.

The facility's history as a high school will be the focus of a farewell ceremony Saturday at the current Shiprock High School’s Chieftain Pit. It will take place during the Shiprock Chieftain Tournament and the Jerry Richardson Memorial Tournament.

“The district felt it was important to honor the heritage of the old Shiprock High School and the Dave Bowman Gymnasium,” CCSD spokesman James Preminger said Wednesday.

A large photograph of the Chieftain mural from inside the Dave Bowman Gymnasium will be on display during the event, and people may sign or write messages on the photograph, which will be framed later, Preminger said.

Bowman was a basketball coach at the high school in the 1970s and 1980s. He also was a teacher and coached football and cross-country.

The gymnasium was named in his honor in May 2005, according to Daily Times archives.

Saturday's event will include guest speakers, some of whom were Bowman's students, and closing remarks by Michelle Bowman Ahlma, the late man's daughter and a 1980 Shiprock High School graduate, according to the district.

The district released a video on Wednesday that focuses on Bowman’s coaching career as told through interviews with former students and athletes.

Preminger said that since the school's 2010 closing, the district has tried to get different groups to take over the building for educational usage, but the cost to renovate the building was too expensive.

The entire structure, including the gymnasium, will be demolished.

A crew from Albuquerque-based Coronado Wrecking and Salvage Company Inc. started demolishing the building this week.

Prior to starting demolition, the district paid approximately $200,000 for asbestos abatement, Preminger said.

He said demolition will cost more than $600,000. The district is providing $233,775 for the project, and the state’s Public School Facilities Authority contributed $367,679.

The track on the west side of the school will remain open for public use during demolition, Preminger said.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-546-4636.

If you go

What: Dave Bowman Gymnasium and Old Shiprock High School Farewell Ceremony

When: 2 p.m. Saturday during the Shiprock Chieftain Tournament and the Jerry Richardson Memorial Tournament

Where: Shiprock High School’s Chieftain Pit, West U.S. Highway 64, Shiprock

More info: Call the Central Consolidated School District at 505-368-4984.

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