Home Education Hobbs committee names top picks for new middle school design

Hobbs committee names top picks for new middle school design

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Hobbs committee names top picks for new middle school design

Andy Brosig/News-Sun

It’s down to three as the Middle School Design Team of Hobbs Municipal Schools selected its top proposals from a field of six designs during the group’s last meeting Monday at the HMS District Office.

And, while there are similarities, each of the three design proposals that are now undergoing refinement by the regional engineering and architectural firm Parkhill. The group will meet again April 9 to review those revised proposals and, hopefully, select the final design for the new, fourth middle school in Hobbs.

The new middle school is part of a $50 million bond project approved by voters last year. A second phase of the project to build a new middle school includes replacing the existing Heizer Middle School on Stanolind Road. Construction on the new middle school is projected to start in late 2025 with the first students attending in 2027.

All three proposals call for a two-story school building, with advantages and disadvantages to each, committee members told the News-Sun. The new school is planned for property in northern Hobbs, located southeast of the intersection of Millen Drive and North Grimes Street.

The committee’s top pick from the six design proposals presented last last week, dubbed the Eagle Wing design, would be built on the west side of a new road to be built off Millen Drive. It would have two drop off areas with the main entrance and administration suite on the south side of the building, Parkhill architect Jeff Reed told the committee.

Sixth grade and special education classrooms, along with ancillary areas including library, athletics, family and consumer science, fine arts and cafeteria space, would be located on the west side of the building on the first floor with seventh- and eighth-grade classrooms directly above on the second floor. The athletic offices and gymnasiums would provide direct access to a new football field to be built east of the building.

“If this happens to be the favored option but you don’t like the placement of all the classrooms, we’ll be able to adjust that so it makes the most sense for students,” Reed said. “Athletics is right in the middle (of the campus) which could give an opportunity if you want an outdoor area next to the weight room.”

The second option in terms of popularity has been dubbed the Hubs option, with initial designs placing it on the west side of the planned new entrance road as well. Again, administration and the main entrance would be located in the middle of the building on the south with an “extended drop-off lane on the south” accessing a second feeder road from the new main road from Millen Drive, Reed said.

Gymnasium and other athletic classrooms and offices would be located on the west side of the building, again with direct access to the new football field. Academic classrooms would be located in a two-story section on the east side of the building, again with sixth grade and special ed on the first floor and upper grades on the second floor.

The Hub design could be built with the main entrance facing either east or west instead of south, but that would have parents attempting to pull onto a primary road during busy traffic times when dropping off or picking up students, Reed said.

“Do you want the traffic backing out onto the new (main) road?” he said. “Or would you prefer it off the main road without the problem of cars stacking up?”

The final option getting the nod last week from the committee was dubbed Cross Path. Again initially designed to sit on the west side of the new main road, Reed described Cross Path as “kind of a hybrid from what you saw on the Hub plan. This is a little more rectangular.”

The design again places the main entrance and administration suite in the middle of the south side of the building. Academic classrooms would extend roughly east and west from the administration area with the same first vs. second floor division by grade level.

Athletics, including the gymnasium, would be located in the northwest corner of the building with access to the football field further to the west. The third design also maintains separation for fine arts, including drama, north of the gymnasium area while maintaining direct access to the cafeteria area in roughly the center of the building.

All three proposals that made the cut were designed to take advantage of natural lighting to varying degrees to cut down on energy costs, Reed said. And all three are designed with the option to segregate the gymnasium and cafeteria areas from the rest of the school building to accommodate concessions services for games or other programs.

Kesa Offutt, a member of the design committee and Houston Middle School music teacher, told the News-Sun she voted for the Eagle Wing option, partially because of the layout of the athletics and drama areas in the design. One of the additional options being considered as Parkhill designers finalize the plans is including a stage in the cafeteria area.

“Having a stage in the cafeteria so we can do all sorts of community events, bring parents in, have concerts and host parent’s nights,” she said. “That can be the central area of the school.”

Houston Assistant Principal Drew Rickman, who also selected the Eagle Wing option as his preference, agreed. Keeping classroom areas separate from athletics and fine arts will reduce noise distractions for students studying, he said.

“Separating all the activities that create more noise on a campus to the opposite side of the campus, I think a lot of people liked that,” Rickman said. “Also the ability to access the gyms and the football fields for the public to come in without having to go through the entire school. I think that was another benefit.”

Looking to the future with the probability of needing to replace both Houston and Highland middle schools in the future, part of the design process included seeing how the new middle school designs would fit on the older middle school sites, Reed said. Each of the three would fit, he told the committee, with the possibility of minimal adjustments.

Reed did tell the committee none of the proposals voted on last week were set in stone. In fact, part of the process Parkhill is currently working on involves the ability of combing parts of all the proposed designs to come up with a final, best option before finalizing the construction plans.

Any of the designs could be placed on either side of the new road, for example, and other specifics can still be incorporated into the larger, overall designs, Reed said. Rickman said that was another plus in the process.

“What I really liked is (Reed) said there’s still a lot of flexibility in each one of those plans,” Rickman said. “There’s still room for adjustment.

“I would agree … that none of them are perfect at this point, but that’s part of the design process. We’re able to make those fine-tune adjustments till we get something we fell is going to best meet our needs.

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