Nearly all construction set to be finished by Aug. 1

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FARMINGTON — More than six years after the project was envisioned, the final touches are being put on the new $75 million Farmington High School campus.

Workers were spread across the campus Wednesday afternoon as they were finishing up renovations in the fine arts building, the old auxiliary gym and the old cafeteria/kitchen.

The old cafeteria/kitchen is being converted into a new weight room and dance classroom for the Kelly Greens dance team while a new black box theater is created in the fine arts building and old auxiliary gym.

New landscaping was also being installed on the school grounds.

Ted Lasiewicz, district chief of operations, said the projects will be completed by the end of the month in anticipation of the first day of school on Aug. 16.

"The whole project has been absolutely amazing," Superintendent Gene Schmidt said.

Schmidt congratulated the architecture firm FBT Architects and the construction manager at risk Jaynes Corporation for their work on the project.

"I'm very pleased with how it has turned out," Lasiewicz said. "I think we met the desires of the stakeholders, (including the) students, teachers and administration in order to give them a facility that is one of the best in the state."

It was during a June 14, 2012, meeting that the Farmington Municipal School District Board of Education unanimously voted to rebuild the high school at its current site at 2200 Sunset Ave. instead of building on a new site located between Troy King Road and the La Plata Highway, according to The Daily Times Archives.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held on April 22, 2015, as demolition was underway.

The A wing, a three-story building that houses math and English classrooms, was completed in August 2016.

Students started taking classes in wings B, C and D in January following the winter break.

The school board voted during a May 10 meeting to approve $690,000 to fund the ongoing renovations, Lasiewicz said.

During the meeting, Lasiewicz told the board the project was about $2.5 million under budget with the district saving about $1 million. The district provided 41 percent of the funding, and 59 percent of the funding was provided by the state.

Among the projects still awaiting completion, workers have essentially flipped the black box theater from the fine arts building into the old auxiliary gym. Students who use the old black box theater entrance will be greeted by new dressing rooms, restrooms and storage rooms.

The old black box theater had a capacity of approximately 60 to 70 people, and the new theater is expected to seat between 200 and 300 people, Lasiewicz said.

The new theater will have two exterior entrances. A portion of the old auxiliary gym will remain unfinished. The area is expected to serve as a lobby that will have ticket booths and restrooms, according to Lasiewicz.

He said the district anticipates that when additional resources become available, work on the black box theater will be completed.

Elsewhere on campus, the walls were being painted and textured in the new dance classroom on Wednesday.

The classroom is on the right side of the old cafeteria while the new weight room is being built on the left side, where the kitchen was housed. New flooring and new mirrors will be installed in the classroom.

The new weight room will have new equipment and will be divided into two long wings separated by overhead metal coiling doors from the old kitchen/cafeteria. Lasiewicz said the new FHS weight room would be on par with the renovated and expanded weight room at Piedra Vista High School.

One thing that will be more prevalent when students return to the campus is more parking spots.

There were fewer than 300 paved parking spots on campus during construction, but by August, there will be 790 paved parking spots on campus, Lasiewicz said.

Additionally, the district plans to take crushed concrete and brick from the demolished Tibbetts Middle School campus on East Apache Street and create 400 unpaved, overflow parking spots near the Dustin Avenue entrance to campus.

Joshua Kellogg covers crime, courts and social issues for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at jkellogg@daily-times.com.

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