Major school construction projects on schedule

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo The new special education building at Marshall Middle School will be state-of-the art, said Clovis Municipal Schools Deputy Superintendent of Operations Joel Shirley, and will be surrounded by an Americans with Disabilities Act compliant courtyard.

Liliana Castillo

Each summer is busy for the operations side of Clovis Municipal Schools. But none has been as busy as this summer with eight ongoing construction projects taking place across Clovis’ school district.

Deputy Superintendent of Operations Joel Shirley said while some construction projects are extensive, such as the renovation and additions to La Casita Elementary School that are doubling the school’s square footage, and some are not so extensive, such as reroofing Parkview Elementary School.

Shirley said both La Casita and renovations of Marshall Middle School are on schedule and will be ready for the school year, beginning Aug. 22.

“Kids will be here Aug. 22 no matter what,” Shirley said.

With anxious principals in the wings, Shirley tells them “it goes back together faster than it comes apart.”

Throughout La Casita, Marshall, and in places at Clovis High School and Ranchvale Elementary School, renovations have included energy efficient windows and lighting systems. Each project also includes updating older buildings to meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.

The two largest projects under way for CMS now are renovations and additions at La Casita and renovations to several buildings at Marshall Middle School.

• La Casita’s project will double the school’s permanent space from under 30,000 square feet to under 60,000 square feet. Shirley said the goal at La Casita was to remove each of the 11 portables from the school site and house all the children and staff inside the building. Construction is on schedule for the first phase to be completed in August and the second in November. The project included updating the school’s technological abilities and adding polished concrete floors and 53 skylights to help with energy efficiency. The library and computer labs will double in size.

“The order of the day is it has to be highly efficient and long-lasting,” Shirley said.

Workers under Gerald Martin Superintendent Jim Eskew are working 20 hours a day on the school.

“We want to thank our neighbors for not calling the cops on us,” Eskew said.

A new play structure is being assembled this week which can hold 60 children at once, Eskew said.

• Marshall Middle School will have a new special education building and accompanying courtyard that is ADA compliant. The cafeteria has been stripped and will have a new kitchen. Asbestos has been removed from multiple buildings. Each of the five buildings has been stripped down and will be given new, energy efficient windows, new electrical wiring, new floors and new plumbing.

“There’s no purpose in placing new floors over old plumbing. You’re going to end up tearing it up,” Shirley said.

Marshall’s art room has been gutted and renovated. The auxiliary gym has been gutted and will have new wooden floors, new bleachers, new lighting and will be ADA compliant. The courtyard behind Marshall’s main building will have new concrete laid and drainage built in.

Smaller construction projects at CMS are spread across the district and some have been complete.

• Construction at the Arts Academy at Bella Vista was scheduled to start July 6 but has been delayed while small financial issues are worked out.

“We look piece by piece through a building to see where we can save money,” Shirley said. “And that takes time.”

• Construction of a new middle school is on track and should begin in October. The school is in the final stage of the design process.

• Building of a new Lockwood Elementary School will begin in March 2012. Lockwood is also in the final stage of the design process.

• Reroofing at the Freshman Academy and CHS Rock Staubus Gymnasium and cafeteria, projects totaling $3.6 million, are scheduled to be completed by Dec. 31. Those projects are out for bid at this time. Shirley said those projects should mobilize for construction in mid September.

• A glass hallway at Ranchvale Elementary School was enclosed, providing for more energy efficient heating and cooling, and drainage issues were dealt with.

• In the A building at CHS, a similar glass hallway was built up to make it more energy efficient. The hallway was given smaller windows and insulation was added.

• Zia Elementary’s multipurpose room was renovated and tile in the building was replaced. Two basketball courts which were removed to make room for portable classrooms were replaced.

• Parkview’s roof was redone. Cameo’s trim was repainted. CHS’ lecture hall was painted and carpet was replaced. The high school welding classes are making fencing panels to place around the school, which is an ongoing project.