FARMINGTON — The Farmington Municipal Schools Board of Education on Thursday approved a $35 million special school district bond election for Feb. 4 that would be used to pay for improvements at three schools.

The majority -- about $25 million -- would be earmarked for projects at Farmington High, Hermosa Middle and Northeast Elementary schools, said Farmington schools Chief of Operations Ted Lasiewicz.

Superintendent Janel Ryan said the bond provides an option that will not require property tax increases. If voters approve, the bond would pay for work at the three schools with a little more than $11 million left over for other projects on the district's five-year facility master plan.

"We still have funds from the 2010 bond that can begin that process," Ryan said.

While discussing an update to the facility master plan during a work session, Marilyn Strube with Greer Stafford/SJCF Architecture said the district hopes to implement security recommendations from Safe Havens International.

The district contracted Safe Havens in June to perform a security assessment of district facilities for emergency and security purposes. Potential costs are still unknown as the district just received a first draft of the company's recommendations.

Strube said in the recommendations packet given to the board that a study would be a good idea to address overcrowding. The district has added about 1,200 students in the last 12 years.

Addressing increased elementary enrollments could require expansions on all schools or a brand new elementary, according to the recommendations.

If the voters approve the bond the district would add more than $15 million to Farmington High, Hermosa Middle and Northeast Elementary school budgets.

"I think it's amazing for a couple of million dollars more on each of those projects, you can get so much more," Ryan said.

The district would share design and construction costs with the New Mexico Public School Facilities Authority.

The budget for Farmington high would increase from $53.7 million to $62.2 million to pay for work that includes building a new gymnasium, and renovating the current gym and nearby cafeteria into an auxiliary gym. The district's share would increase to $30.4 million from $20.9 million.

Hermosa Middle School's budget would be boosted to $18.4 million from $10.2 million to pay for the renovations. The district would contribute another $3.2 million, increasing its share to $7.3 million.

Other work could include demolishing two of the classroom wings and building a new two-story structure to connect the north wing and the gymnasium. Work could be expedited on Hermosa by relocating staff and students to the old Tibbetts Middle School for the 2014-2015 school year.

The Northeast Elementary construction project would see a $6.6 million increase from $12.7 million to $19.3 million with the district adding another $2.6 million to raise its contribution to $7.7 million.

One option for the elementary school would call for adding a new two-story building on the school grounds and demolishing the current building.

Joshua Kellogg covers education for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 and Follow him @jkelloggdt on Twitter.