CCSD to demolish Nataani Nez Elementary School

Joshua Kellogg
Nataani Nez Elementary is pictured in March in Shiprock.

FARMINGTON — Community members will have one more chance to say goodbye to the Nataani Nez Elementary School in Shiprock before demolition starts on the 55-year-old building early next year.

The Central Consolidated School District Board of Education during its Oct. 20 board meeting approved a  $539,120 bid from Albuquerque-based Coronado Wrecking and Salvage to demolish the structure.

Coronado Wrecking's bid was the lowest of four submitted for the project, district Director of Operations Eric James said. The district is paying about $233,700 of the cost with the state's Public School Facilities Authority contributing about $305,300.

James said board members, during a March 17 meeting, examined a wide variety of options to determine the best use of the site before electing to proceed with demolition of the school.

The school was built in 1965 and was closed by the district in 2010 after a decline in student enrollment. Elementary students were redistributed to one of the three remaining Shiprock elementary schools, district spokesman James Preminger said.

James said the building is a liability for the district and would require several million dollars to renovate, which would require bringing it up to code. He also said the building had several issues including an abundance of asbestos and plumbing troubles. Workers finished removing asbestos on Friday in preparation for the demolition.

Vandals also have damaged the building since it was closed, he said. Multiple fires were started in the school, including one in the school’s office and one that burned a hole in the gymnasium floor.

The district is planning on hosting a farewell party for the school – which served as the old Shiprock High School – in the next two weeks so community members can say goodbye.

James said demolition will start after the farewell party and take about 60 days. The track located on the west side of the school will be left intact since it is popular among community members, Preminger said.

Following the demolition, district administrators and school board members will discuss options for the site. James said one proposal is to build additional housing units for teachers.

Joshua Kellogg covers education for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627.