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RISD board hears update on construction projects

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The new construction manager for Roswell Independent School District gave an update on Mesa Middle School and Nancy Lopez Elementary School plans at Tuesday night’s school board meeting.

Jeremy Sanchez told the RISD board his experience as regional manager for the New Mexico Public School Facilities Authority gives him a “unique and specific perspective” on the projects in the district’s near future. He joined PSFA in 2013, according to a staff bio on the authority’s website, and said for the past five and a half years he has worked with RISD on capital outlay projects such as Parkview Early Literacy Center, Del Norte Elementary School, and the upcoming Mesa Middle and Nancy Lopez schools. He’s also worked with the districts in Hobbs, Hagerman, Clovis and Portales.

Sanchez said the design for Mesa Middle’s renovation and construction was completed at the end of April and is being reviewed for permit application by the state. The district and PSFA are expected to issue a request for proposals for the construction in the summer.

The project, estimated at $21 million, will add a second gymnasium, a two-story wing for classrooms, a pick-up and drop-off plaza and a new track and field. About half the project will be renovation and half new construction.

The state will take on about 71% of the cost, Sanchez said.

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“Assuming all things go well with the construction request this summer, that project construction timeline is estimated at about 16 months,” he said.

Superintendent Mike Gottlieb asked Sanchez if the state would be able to help if the costs for materials or labor increase due to the pandemic. Sanchez said that has been an ongoing conversation with districts, as projects that were already underway had not intended to address delays or increased costs related to the pandemic.

“The state is very much aware of those things and I feel that due to my unique perspective of working for the state and coming to the district, I can usher in those conversations should something bidding-wise be outside of what we originally estimated for this project,” he said.

Regarding Nancy Lopez Elementary, Sanchez said the early planning stage, which addressed such topics as the school’s educational programming and enrollment, was approved by PSFA in March.

The school’s future enrollment is something that should be considered as that information leads into the design stage, Sanchez said. The district is beginning the process of forming a five-year facilities master plan.

“I’m hoping that we can schedule time very soon for discussion between the district and PSFA as to what the right size of that school facility is,” he said.

“Partnering with the state on that master plan as well as the design for Nancy Lopez, we can leverage those two processes at the same time and ensure we’re getting sufficient space for the kids and the staff at Nancy Lopez,” he said.

Board President Hope Morales suggested the district keep its eye on land to the east of the school for the project as well.

“I just think now is the right time for us to look into it and keep that as an option,” she said.

In addition to hearing the construction update, the board unanimously approved several items on its agenda Tuesday including an application for $1.4 million for elementary arts funding through the New Mexico Fine Arts Education Act; evaluation of the bus contractors; selecting Benchmark Business Solutions, 301 N. Main, for district copier service; and revisions to the district’s social media and school volunteer policies.

City/RISD reporter Juno Ogle can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or reporter04@rdrnews.com.