Improvements will give building another 15-20 years of life

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FARMINGTON — Country Club Elementary School will have systems and security improvements, and renovations after the Farmington Municipal School District School Board approved funding for the project during a regular board meeting on Thursday.

The school board approved $1.7 million in local contributions for the project, according to operations director Ted Lasiewicz. Local funds come from a 2017 bond, and the state will contribute $3.1 million for a total project cost of $4.89 million. 

The district will renovate the school’s heating, ventilation and air condition system, plumbing infrastructure, fire alarms and sprinklers, roofing, and doors and windows, as well as replace all lights with LED lights and improve the school’s electrical and wiring infrastructure, Lasiewicz said.

Country Club Elementary School Principal Shannon Waller said though the infrastructure renovations will improve classrooms and instruction time throughout the school, the main priorities of school and district administrators are safety and security.

“The biggest need is improvements that keep safety in mind. Before, it was about improvements that you’d want, but now safety is the biggest thing,” Waller said, adding that the renovations are “not what people think — ‘Oh, you’re getting a new school.’ We like our old home, but they’re just going to make it better.”

Lasiewicz said the school — which was built in 1954 and has had a six additions, with the most recent coming in 2002 — is structurally sound, and the renovations will give the building another 15 to 20 years of life.

Construction likely will begin in late May and will continue through the fall semester of 2019. Lasiewicz said up to a dozen classes will be housed in portable buildings, which will come from Farmington High School’s renovation, on a rotating basis over the course of the three phases of construction that will coincide with the school’s semesters.

At Thursday’s school board meeting, deputy superintendent Phil Valdez gave an update on school safety and security. The district will organize regular radio check-ins at all schools to ensure radio communications and procedures work effectively. The district also is working on making special access available to emergency responders to school security systems so they may enter school buildings during a lockdown.

The district is also encouraging schools to hold more frequent safety meetings that work closely with school resource officers, Valdez said.

The Farmington school board also recognized several district employees for their hard work and accomplishments, including Ladera Del Norte Elementary School first-grade teacher Sarah Briggs, whorecently became a National Board-certified teacher, and district nurse coordinator Cathy McDonald, whose work with school health and wellness has influenced state standards.

Welding instructor Anna Wilson presented concept drawings for a welded gate that Farmington High School students will fabricate for the new FHS campus during Thursday’s meeting.

The next Farmington school board meeting is scheduled for Jan 25.

Megan Petersen covers business and education for The Daily Times. Reach her at 505-564-4621 or mpetersen@daily-times.com.

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