New funds approved for Country Club Elementary project

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FARMINGTON — The old Tibbetts Middle School property is no longer on the market after Farmington Municipal School District officials heard pleas from city officials and members of the community to not sell it.

District board members had voted to put the property on the market during a special board meeting on May 25.

Some potential buyers had inquired about the property, which led to the recommendation of the sale by Superintendent Gene Schmidt to the board.

But Schmidt made the recommendation to take the property off the market during Thursday night's board meeting after hearing from Farmington officials and a group interested in installing an all-abilities park on the property for citizens and students who are disabled.

District officials plan to meeting with that group next month to receive additional details, Schmidt said.

"The (city of Farmington) has sent out a verbal appeal to us to continue to leave that property for the need of the public who want to use the track or school facilities," Schmidt said.

The district also has changed its plan to cover the costs of the Country Club Elementary School renovation project with the revenue generated by the sale of the old Tibbetts property. The district now plans to request additional money from the state, Schmidt said.

Board members approved a motion to increase the district's portion of the Country Club Elementary renovation project costs from approximately $1.76 million to about $2.82 million.

The district had put the project on hold after board members rejected all construction bids earlier this year when they came in nearly $1.7 million higher than projected.

The work originally was projected to cost around $4.89 million, but the bids ranged in price from approximately $5.62 million to about $5.87 million, according to board documents.

Ted Lasiewicz, the district's chief of operations, sent a letter on May 25 to the state Public School Finance Authority requesting that the state increase its portion of the funding for the project from approximately $3.13 million to about $5.03 million.

The new projected cost of the project is $7.85 million, according to Lasiewicz.

District officials and school board members have cited an increase in steel prices and an uptick in construction activity statewide as an explanation for the high bids.

Lasiewicz told the board Thursday night the project would not go forward without the increase in funding from the state.

Work on the school's plumbing, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, as well as its roof, windows and fire alarms are planned as part of the renovation.

The project also includes the installation of a fire sprinkler system, which was not required when the building was constructed in 1954.

Board and district officials are expected to meet with state officials next month regarding the request to increase the state's portion of the funding.

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.

More: Old Tibbetts Middle School property up for sale

Country Club elementary renovations on hold

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