Structure would be called 30th Street Education Center

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FARMINGTON — Farmington schools and San Juan College are one step closer to occupying the vacant Hilcorp building on East 30th Street.

The San Juan College Board and the Farmington Municipal School District Board of Education approved a joint powers agreement during their meetings this week.

Built in 1999, the building at 3401 E. 30th St. was listed for sale at $7 million but is worth about $30 million, according to The Daily Times archives.

If the two education entities purchase the building, San Juan College would own 53 percent of the structure, and operate on the second and third floors.

Farmington schools would own 47 percent of the building, and operate on the first and fourth floors. It would also be called the 30th Street Education Center.

The joint powers agreement describes the responsibilities the college and school district would have in terms of the owning the building, including handling utilities, maintenance of the building and common areas, according to Ted Lasiewicz, the district's chief of operations.

Having a joint powers agreement was also one of the requirements stipulated by the New Mexico Higher Education Department when it approved the project last week, according to San Juan College Executive Vice President Ed DesPlas.

"I think the project is really going to be positive for both San Juan College and ourselves. We are working really well together," Lasiewicz said.

The next step is for the joint powers agreement to be sent to the New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration for approval.

Lasiewicz believes if the department approves the joint powers agreement, the organizations could close on the building sometime in February.

The gross purchase price of the building is $6.25 million if the deal is closed by April 30 but drops to $6 million if it is completed by March 31, according to The Daily Times archives.

Bond funding from the college and school district will fund the purchase and renovation of the building.

The San Juan College Board also approved the selection of FBT Architects for architectural design services for the building, according to DesPlas. The bid was for $172,000 on a project estimated to cost $1.5 million.

The renovation work includes installing seven new classrooms and new restrooms to handle the additional occupancy of students.

The college hopes to occupy its part of the building by August and finish "loud" portions of the renovation before June, when elements of the Farmington school district hope to occupy the building.

"We don't want to be jackhammering floors for bathrooms while they are trying to do accounting downstairs," DesPlas said.

The Farmington district plans to have all its departments except information technology relocate to the building by June, Lasiewicz said.

Renovations for the IT department and the board room are expected to be completed in July or August, according to Lasiewicz.

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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