Home Education HMS planning $3 million in capital improvements 

HMS planning $3 million in capital improvements 

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Summer projects

HMS planning $3 million in capital improvements 

Andy Brosig/News-Sun

Summer is the time students and teachers enjoy a hiatus from the educational rigors of the regular school year.

It’s also a time school districts tackle larger construction and repair projects that just can’t get done when campuses are populated, said Doug Young, director of operations for the Hobbs Municipal Schools.

“A lot of these things, you need kids out of the building, you need staff out of the building in order to get them completed,” Young told the News-Sun last week. “All of these would be what we’d classify as capital outlay projects.”

One of the big projects underway now is a complete redesign and replacement of parking lots and traffic flow around College Lane Elementary in north Hobbs.

The project will alter the way parents pick up and drop off their students at the school with an eye toward reducing traffic issues along West College Lane, particularly at the close of the school day, Young said.

“The goal is to be able to get traffic off the street and to be able to reroute cars in a different manner to allow for less congestion in that area,” he said. “Especially at dismissal time where we get cars backed up all the way to North Grimes Street.”

As part of the project, bus lanes and parking areas on the south side of the school — the side facing West College Lane — were removed to allow for sewer and water line replacement before the actual repaving gets underway. But the scope of the project is so large it won’t be done before school starts in the fall, Young said.

“That’s a project that will cause some inconvenience at the start of the school year in August,” he said. “The west parking area and the bus lane in front (of the school) will be done this summer.

“But the east drive we’ll use to get cars off College Lane won’t be completed until during the year. We probably won’t get that completely opened until the spring semester.”

The projected cost for the project is around $2.4 million, Young said.

HMS was able to secure some grant funding to help offset costs so the full amount will not be reliant solely on the district’s operations coffers.

And, though it opened during the 2023-24 school year, there’s still work going on at the new Southern Heights Elementary on East Texas Street in southern Hobbs. Crews last week were preparing the area where the original Southern Heights Elementary stood since the mid-1950s to become additional parking, a park and play area and more for the school.

“They’re finishing up the landscaping. Playgrounds are in and have been inspected,” Young said. “There’s a couple of pieces that are missing on the playground, the irrigation systems have been installed. The field still needs to be done along with the perimeter fencing. But it should be completed probably in July. Everything, 100 percent.”

Though originally projected to open for the start of the 2023-24 school year, students didn’t move into the new school until October last year. But Young said the school weathered the bulk of that first year of tiny feet and hands in hallways and classrooms well.

“It’s helped that (general contractor) Bradbury Stamm has been there the whole time to take care of issues that have come up,” he said. “They’ve taken care of any issues, a door sticking here or a wall that wasn’t painted quite right” as they’ve been identified.

Another big project going on over the summer break involves replacing water lines at Booker T. Washington Elementary on East Humble Street. Given the age of the building it was time, Young said.

“It’s everything from the water meter to every line that runs under that building,” Young said. “We’d already worked on the sewer lines over there. They were the old-style clay pipes. It was a mess.”

Crews are also addressing water and sewer issues on other HMS campuses and facilities, including replacing sewer lines at the student health clinic based on the Hobbs High School campus.

The health clinic project “is not a big project,” he said. “But it’s a thing that has to happen during the summer.”

Elsewhere in the district, the main boiler will be replaced at Will Rogers Elementary starting this month.

Electrical systems at Jefferson Elementary and Sanger Elementary will be upgraded by the time school is back in session Aug. 1.

And Will Rogers, along with Coronado Elementary, will have an upgraded intercom system by the time students and teachers return to campus.

Students at Murray Elementary and Broadmoor Elementary will be able to see better with new lighting throughout both schools, Young said. And athletes and physical education classes will return this fall to find shiny new, refinished floors in the gymnasiums at Hobbs Freshman High School in time for the start of the 2024-25 school year, he said.

Though it was planned as part of the district’s ongoing facilities maintenance schedule, buildings in the Hobbs Municipal Schools are undergoing roof inspections now, in part due to the hail storm that moved through the area last month.

“We had already planned on doing roof assessments, then we got the hail storm,” Young said. “It just kind of fell at the same time with when we were planning to do inspections to find out what roofs needed to be repaired or replaced.”

An adjustor from the district’s insurance company was in town starting last week, doing both general inspections and to see if there was any hail damage, he said. And it could be a mixed blessing, depending on the results of those inspections, with the potential for insurance to cover at least a portion of the cost of needed repairs.

“It may help financially a little bit,” Young said. “Depending on what the insurance adjustor comes up with it may help offset some of the costs of those repairs.”

On top of the major, capital projects, there are dozens of smaller projects going on over the summer across the Hobbs Municipal Schools that are the responsibility of the district’s maintenance department.

Crews installed two canopies at the practice fields east of Hobbs High School along North Marland, for example, to provide a shaded area for both student athletes and spectators using the field in the heat of the day.

There are a few renovations taking place at the Freshman High School and the district’s Central Office complex, both on East Sanger Street in Hobbs.

Maintenance Department crews are revamping classroom space at FHS to make room for a second Spanish language teacher added to the staff for next year.

“And we’re moving all the secondary instructional coaches over here” to the Central Office, Young said. “So (maintenance) is revamping some of the rooms over here, getting those cleaned up and moved around.

“Then there just general, preventative maintenance, going around and taking care of work orders that have been waiting. And they’re constantly working on and repairing irrigation lines. And the constant mowing.

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