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SHIPROCK — The Central Consolidated School District Board of Education could approve the hiring of a Durango, Colo., firm to provide design services for projects across the district soon.

Board members are being asked to approve a recommendation to select ME&E Engineering Inc. for the design services.

Dennis Fieldsted, the district’s building and construction coordinator, presented details about the proposal to board members on Thursday. Projects would be related to mechanical and electrical work in existing facilities, including the replacement or expansion of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems for Shiprock High School, Kirtland Central High School, Eva B. Stokely Elementary School and Kirtland Elementary School.

"They're in bad need of receiving HVAC services," Fieldsted said.

The average age of the district's school facilities is 20 years, according to the proposal.

The board also heard a recommendation to approve a memorandum of agreement between the district and the Central Consolidated Education Association regarding weekly early release on Wednesdays. According to the agreement, the early-release days would be implemented on a trial basis for the first nine weeks of the upcoming school year.

During the second nine weeks, employees will have the opportunity to participate in a survey about whether to continue or cancel early-release days.

CCSD spokesman James Preminger said Friday if board members approve the agreement, a new school year calendar would be developed to reflect the early releases.

Two additional agreements under consideration focus on retaining partnerships with the Navajo Nation Office of Diné Youth.

The first agreement outlines after-school transportation for students from schools within Shiprock to the Shiprock Youth Complex, where the department is located. At the facility, students would receive tutoring and help with homework.

Under the second agreement, the district would continue to provide work site locations for high school and college students enrolled in the department's employment program.

Wetona Becenti, program supervisor for the office in Shiprock, said the department hires high school students to work for two weeks, and college students are employed for three weeks. The experience helps students learn about careers and gain experience, Becenti said.

She added the collaboration has been beneficial because it provides work sites for students in Newcomb and Naschitti.

The items will be considered by the board on Tuesday during the regular meeting at the Kirtland Board Room in Kirtland.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636.

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