Kirtland Central, Shiprock getting refrigerated air systems


KIRTLAND — Work continued today at Kirtland Central and Shiprock high schools to convert both schools' evaporative cooling systems to refrigerated air systems.

Candice Thompson, construction and facilities coordinator for the Central Consolidated School District, said both schools had aging systems. The new setups will be energy efficient.

"They'll have a better learning atmosphere with comfortable conditions to learn in," Thompson said during a tour of Kirtland Central High School today.

Work started on April 1 at both schools.

At Kirtland Central, evaporative cooler units have been removed from the roof, ceiling tiles have been removed to accommodate duct work and available space is occupied by material.

Additional work includes installing fire sprinkler systems in the school's three gymnasiums, including Bronco Arena, and replacing the heating and cooling system in the Karlin Gymnasium.

Some classrooms will receive new lighting and lighting controls.

"There's not one part of the school that's not being touched right now," Thompson said.

The project in Shiprock includes remodeling the concession stand inside Chieftan Pit.

Both schools will reopen on Aug. 15, but the entire project is expected to be finished in spring 2018.

With material, equipment and debris scattered throughout the schools, both campuses are closed to the public until school starts, Thompson said.

"It's really a hazard to have the general public in the area. We have a lot of work to do in a short time to do it in," she said.

Although the campuses are closed, there are a few school personnel working.

The financial secretary and clerk for Kirtland Central have been relocated to the Kirtland Business Office.

Meanwhile, the track located behind the high school is open, and an alternative route to the area is posted, Thompson said.

In Shiprock, the front office remains open to the public, and it is the only area in the school for the public to visit, she added.

FCI Constructors Inc. is the general contractor for both projects.

Scott Klassen, superintendent at FCI Constructors, said work at both schools is expected to continue in seven phases after school starts in August.


He said each phase could take up to a month to complete and, as work proceeds, teachers and students will relocate to portable buildings next to the schools.

"We're going to meet our schedule," Klassen said.

The projects were funded as part of a $20 million general obligation bond voters approved in August 2013.

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


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