Farmington school board approves new FHS costs

The Farmington Municipal School Board of Education also approved about $172,000 for new early college high school.

Joshua Kellogg
Construction continues in March at Building A of the new Farmington High School.

FARMINGTON – The Farmington school board has approved spending an additional $3.3 million on its portion of the new Farmington High School.

During a special board meeting Tuesday afternoon, the Farmington Municipal School District Board of Education approved increasing the district’s contribution to the project from about $32.5 million to about $35.8 million. The nearly $3.3 million increase will come from the 2014 bond sale.

Also on Tuesday, the board approved funding to renovate and remodel space for the new San Juan College High School.

A resolution calling for the additional $3.3 million for Farmington High was presented to the board by district Chief of Operations Ted Lasiewicz. The resolution listed several factors that contributed to the additional cost.

The factors include items the New Mexico Public Schools Finance Authority declined to help pay for and extra work needed to prepare the soil for the new gymnasium, which needed deep foundation work.

The resolution also cited the need for extensive improvements to the Fine Arts building, including replacement of the roof.

The projected $73 million cost for entire high school project is the same because it will remain within the scope of the original design, Superintendent Gene Schmidt said.

“The project costs are coming in at numbers the board can have confidence in that we will stay within our bond capacity,” Schmidt said.

Board members also approved spending about $172,000 to pay for about $272,000 in needed renovation work for San Juan College High School, the early college high school that will be housed on the San Juan College main campus.

The early college high school will allow San Juan County students to earn their high school diploma and two years of college credit in four years. The high school is set to open in August.

The first class of 60 students will be housed on the first floor of the Learning Commons building. Six classrooms and office space will be built where the college’s Student Activities organization is currently located.

The New Mexico Public Education Department is providing $30,000, and San Juan College will provide $70,000 for the renovations, San Juan College High School Principal Don Lorett said.

“Finances are always a struggle in the educational process,” Lorett said. “Any time we can not only find funding but have a collaborative effort, it shows the support of a lot of different entities.”

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