FARMINGTON — When students at several Farmington schools return to the classroom on Monday, they will see new secure entryways that were installed during the summer.

The $1.14 million project to renovate six Farmington Municipal School District schools and the central administration office is nearly complete for the start of the 2016-2017 school year, according to Ted Lasiewicz, the district's chief of operations.

Lasiewicz said work at Apache, Bluffview, Country Club and Esperanza elementary schools, and Tibbetts Middle School will be completed by Monday.

The security upgrades are designed to help the staff better manage parents and other visitors to the school, Apache Elementary Principal Jennifer Bowles said.

“I think it’s a great thing to do what we can to provide safety and security for teachers and students,” Bowles said.

Each building has a nearly identical entryway design with a second set of doors installed just inside the main entrance that remain locked during the school day. Visitors are diverted through a door into the front office, where they use a kiosk to sign in for a name tag with their photo.

A front office worker will have to remotely unlock a door into the school’s hallway from the front office to allow a visitor access to the building.

Bullet-resistant glass was installed in each of the entryways.

The front office renovations at Piedra Vista High School will be completed on Monday as crews finish working on two new fences to close access to the the campus near the Jerry A. Conner Fieldhouse, Lasiewicz said.

Fencing was installed between the Turano-Chrisman Performing Arts Theatre building and the gym on the north side of campus, and from the south side of the gym to the lower C building, Pierda Vista Principal Dave Golden said. Electronic gates installed in the fences will be locked while school is in session.

During a tour of the Piedra Vista front office on Tuesday, Golden said all visitors are directed to the main entrance.

The school’s attendance secretary is being relocated to the front office, where parents can sign in or check out their students. Visitors will no longer enter from the north entrance near the attendance office and the office for the school resource officer.

Offices for Golden and Vice Principal Kelly Thur are in the renovated front office, along with an expanded conference room for teachers and administrators.

According to Lasiewicz, 10 of the district’s 18 schools have “highly secure” entryways. Similar entryways were constructed at the new Northeast Elementary School, the renovated Hermosa Middle School and at Animas Elementary School last year.

A secure entrance is included in the plans for the new Farmington High School.

The additional layer of security at Animas Elementary has helped the staff better manage visitors to the building, according to Principal Emily Foose.

“The district is moving in the right direction to create schools with a strong culture and an atmosphere for learning,” Foose said.

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

School start dates

Aztec Municipal Schools
Friday, Aug. 12  — First day of school for all students

Bloomfield Schools
Monday, Aug. 15 — First, fourth, seventh and ninth grade first day
Tuesday, Aug. 16 — First day of school for all grades
Monday, Aug. 22 — First day of school for Bloomfield Early Children Center pre-kindergarten

Central Consolidated Schools
Tuesday, Aug. 16 — First day of school for all grades

Dream Diné Charter School
Monday, Aug. 15 — First day of school for all grades

Farmington Municipal Schools
Monday, Aug. 15 — First day of school for all grades except pre-kindergarten
Thursday, Aug. 18 — First day of school for pre-kindergarten

Navajo Preparatory School
Monday, Aug. 15 — First day of school for all grades

New Mexico Virtual Academy
Monday, Aug. 15 — First day of school for all grades

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