Renovating the building will bring it into compliance with building codes and add space for San Juan College's emergency medical services, fire science and commercial driver’s license programs

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FARMINGTON — The San Juan College board has approved hiring a Farmington-based architecture firm to work on a $2 million project to renovate the college's South Hutton Street facility.

Board members on Tuesday approved a contract with Rodahl and Hummell Architecture for about $126,000, according to Ed DesPlas, the college’s vice president for administrative services. The project is funded by a $10 million bond measure that voters approved in February 2015.

The firm, which was one of three that responded to the college’s request for proposals, has worked with the college on nearly 30 projects in the past, DesPlas said.

The 21,000-square-foot building at 800 S. Hutton St. is currently vacant after the School of Energy was relocated last year to a new $15.8 million building on the college’s main campus.

Constructed in the 1960s, renovations to the two-story building will bring it into compliance with current building codes and add classroom space and offices for the emergency medical services, fire science and commercial driver’s license programs.

A building the college rents across the street from the South Hutton Street facility currently houses the CDL program.

A new fire tower that spans 5,200 to 5,500 square feet will also be constructed outside the Hutton Street facility. It will replace the current 1,800-square-foot fire tower, built in 1983, on the west side of the main campus.

Design work on the South Hutton Street facility will start in the fall and is scheduled to be completed in spring 2017, said Chris Harrelson, the college’s physical plant interim director. He also said the college is looking to hire a contractor next year, in late spring or early summer, for the project.

Demolition of the current fire tower is included in the college’s annual capital project priority report submitted to the New Mexico Higher Education Department.

The report, approved by the board on Tuesday, includes a project to repair the roofs of campus buildings damaged by last summer’s hail storm. The buildings include the East Classroom Complex, four buildings for the grounds department, the physical plant building and part of the Information Technology Center building, according to Harrelson's presentation to board members.

The storm caused about $3.5 to $4 million in damage and forced the college to replace the roofs of nine campus buildings, as well as complete repairs to 29 campus vehicles and fix water damage to the interior of multiple buildings.

Demolition of the fire tower is projected to cost about $300,000. The college requested $200,000 from the state Higher Education Department for the project and plans to fund the remaining $100,000, DesPlas said.

Roof repairs to the four campus buildings are projected to cost about $500,000, and the college requested $300,000 from the state for the project, DesPlas said. The remaining $200,000 will be provided by the college.

State lawmakers will consider funding for the project during the 2018 legislative session.

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

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