Municipal makeover

Throughout the hot days, and sometimes into the late nights, construction is ongoing for Clovis Municipal Schools.

By the time July 2014 rolls around, current projects will have been finished with a projected $51.2 million expended on three new school sites and facility upgrades at three others. The school district provides 20 percent of the funding, while the Public Schools Finance Authority kicks in the remaining 80 percent.

The district is adding W.D. Gattis Middle School, replacing Lockwood and James E. Bickley elementary schools, upgrading facilities at the Arts Academy at Bella Vista and upgrading roofing and heating/ventilation/air conditioning at the Clovis High School and CHS Freshman Academy campuses.

John King, director of operations for CMS and a former employee of the PSFA, gave the CNJ a tour of the projects.

Lockwood Elementary

Details: New 56,000 square foot campus designed for 364 students in grades K-5. Project budgeted at $11.5 million, with completion scheduled for July 13.

  • Crews are over-excavating hundreds of yards of dirt out of the foundation area to create a footprint. Engineered fill is brought back in and compacted to specifications. The foundation will be 1 to 2 feet above the existing elevation for drainage.
  • Boring will begin in the next few weeks on a geothermal system. The system uses the earth as a heat source in the winter and a place to dump excess heat during summer months, helping reduce the operational costs of heating and cooling.

Arts Academy at Bella Vista

Details: Facility upgrades for K-5 school, housing 450 students. Project budgeted at $8.5 million, with completion scheduled for April 2013.

  • Phase 1 is finished, covering most externals on a new multipurpose room and 12 new classrooms.
  • The school is currently in Phase 2, the summer construction with mostly internal work.
  • Rooms include partial carpeting, partial polished concrete. It mimics the look of terrazzo floors, but the price is significantly less. Another advantage of polished concrete over tile is that it only takes mopping, versus stripping, buffing, waxing, etc.

In classes for younger students, carpeting is tiled. If an accident puts a patch of carpet beyond repair, it can be taken out individually and replaced instead of replacing the entire section of carpet.

  • Rooms also include numerous cubbies for students, closet shelving and upper and lower cabinets.

"When we talk to teachers, they always talk about storage space," King said. "We give them as much as we can and give them the maximum amount allowed by state standards."

  • Phase 3 will take place in the school year, involving upgrades to the existing classrooms and the usage of portables until it's finished around April.
  • The performing arts center, also used as an athletic facility, will include pull-out bleachers and seating for more than the school population of 450.

"I think it will relieve pressure from (the auditorium at) Marshall," King said. "Hopefully, the facility is going to benefit not only the school system, but the community as well."

James E. Bickley Elementary

Details: New 50,000 square foot building for grades K-5 is designed for 321 students. The $11 million project has an estimated completion date of July 2014.

  • The school is in the design phase — 60 percent, according to King.
  • Construction should begin very early in the first quarter of 2013, and is expected to take 16-18 months.

W.D. Gattis Middle School

Details: New middle school designed for grades 6-8, with capacity for 900 students. It is the biggest project in size and price, with 132,000 square feet in a $27.2 million project. It is scheduled for completion in July 2013.

  • The school will have two gyms, and most of the classrooms will be constructed as part of a two-story design.

The masons and steel workers each built two stories at a time, instead of the standard process of trading off work on each floor. King said it saves time for the crews and money for the district.

  • In order to avoid the heat of June, crews have been pouring concrete during midnight shifts. But numerous workers are at the campus throughout the day.

"Hats off to those people," King said. "They're out there in the heat, with the wind and all of the other elements. They really go through a lot to do those things for us. We certainly appreciate them."

  • Boring is complete for geothermal pumps. The southern area of the property is to be seeded for future athletic fields, but xeriscaping will be used as much as possible elsewhere on school grounds to save water.

Clovis High School/CHS Freshman Academy

Details: At CHS, work includes roofing and HVAC improvements for the cafeteria and Rock Staubus Gymnasium. At the freshman academy, the building is receiving roofing and HVAC improvements. Both projects are expected to be completed in August, with $1.8 million for CHS and $2.2 million for CHSFA.

  • The new roofing will help the school save on heating and cooling costs.

"The biggest difference in roofing today versus what we've done in the past is we're putting in poly-iso insulation on top."

  • Roofing must be built to I-90 standards, meaning it must be able to withstand winds of 90 mph
  • Manufacturers are required to provide 20-year system warranties, covering everything from the deck to the membrane (used to prevent leaks and move water off the roof).

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