School board chooses site for new middle school

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Sanjay Engineer with FBT Architects explains the benefits and disadvantages of the three sites for the new middle school at Tuesday’s board meeting.

By Liliana Castillo: CNJ staff writer

The Clovis Municipal Schools Board of Education chose the location of the district’s new 900-student middle school.

The chosen site is a 40-acre plot of land along the Pleasant Hill Highway owned by Clovis developer Sid Strebeck.

The board decided last year the district needed a third middle school to handle growth from Cannon Air Force Base and the area. The New Mexico Public Schools Facilities Authority has agreed to pay 80 percent of the cost to build the new school, with the district paying the remaining 20 percent.

Other options discussed at Tuesday’s board meeting were a 30-acre site on the corner of Martin Luther King Boulevard and Llano Estacado and a 30-acre site on the corner of North Prince and Wilhite Streets.

Secretary Max Best, Vice President Terry Martin and member Rodney Muffley voted to choose the 40-acre site, President Mark Lansford voted no and member Lola Bryant was absent from the meeting.

The board chose a site according to an assessment done by FBT Architects on each site. Superintendent Rhonda Seidenwurm said the board wanted an outside opinion on each site to help make an objective choice.

The site chosen was ranked the highest overall by FBT. The assessment contained 14 criteria including aligning with the district’s master plan, ease of development and ease of access.

Lansford said he had concerns about the site. He said the site is 2 miles out of town and the distance will be a burden on parents, students and taxpayers.

Lansford also said $1.3 million in development costs will lie 100 percent with the disrict. The money would be spent on extending a water line and sewer line.

“That could have been utilized in another fashion rather than development,” he said.

Lansford also said the district owns 40 acres on 21st Street, just west of Humphrey Road, that already has access to utilities and easy access.

“We could have used that,” he said.

Seidenwurm said the land will be valuable when the district wants to build a new high school.

The board also approved adding a second gym to the new middle school site and to the contract with FBT.

The design of the second gym will cost $40,666, 100 percent of which has to be paid by the district as PSFA will only offer a match for one gym. Deputy Superintendent of Operations Joel Shirley said a school intended for 900 students will require a second gym.

In other business, the board:

• Approved a request to travel for the Clovis High School Wildcat Band to a Bands of America Regional Marching Festival and Dixie State College in St. George, Utah. The group attending will include 180 students and 20 chaperones and cost $320 a student. The students acquired the travel money through fundraising efforts.

• Approved a contract with Interim Superintendent G.C. Ross. In the contract, Ross will be paid $533.46 a day until the board hires a superintendent. Ross is provided with 32 hours to be used as sick and personal days and a vehicle.

• Approved the district Educational Plan for Student Success and addendums to the alternative governance plan for Cameo Elementary School and Clovis High School.

• Approved request for bids for cafeteria supplies and bread. President Mark Lansford had questions about three of the items. He said administration was not suggesting the lowest qualified bid. Those three items were tabled.