FARMINGTON — Farmington Municipal School District's maintenance staff was honored with two awards for their work on district buildings and for employing some of the best practices in the state.

For the second year in a row, the maintenance department was awarded the Ben Lujan Gold Award. Another award that recognizes the efforts of the maintenance team was also presented to the district.

The New Mexico Public Schools Facilities Authority and the Cooperative Educational Services presented the awards differently this year.

Awards were given out based on districts' sizes, using the New Mexico Activities Association class system. Farmington won in the class 4A rank.

Farmington schools won the Ben Lujan Gold Award last year when all 89 districts in the state competed for the award.

Farmington schools have stable leadership and have continuously improved, not settling for things being "good enough," said Les Martinez, the state Public Schools Facilities Authority's facilities, maintenance and operations support manager.

Martinez attributed the award to the work of Steve Vollmert, the school district's plant operations supervisor, and his staff.

"Mr. Vollmert, he's a spark plug for that team," Martinez said. "He keeps everyone on task and looking at ways to keep everything efficient."

Vollmert said he is proud of the district's 117 plant operations and maintenance employees, who completed 17,517 work orders across the school district in the 2012 calendar year.

"They are dedicated to doing a good job here at the district," Vollmert said.

The plant operations crew had a busy summer with relocating staff and teachers into the new Tibbetts Middle School on Twin Peaks Boulevard and four construction projects at four schools, including heating and air conditioning work, restroom renovation and lighting repairs.

Ted Lasiewicz, the district's chief of operations, said the awards reaffirm the district's commitment to preventive maintenance, utility conservation and ensuring schools are kept in excellent conditions for students and staff.

The quality of maintenance work also helps when the district applies for state funding for capital projects, like the $62.2 million new Farmington High School project.

"The implications are not just benefits that are immediately derived by the district," Lasiewicz said. "When we apply for funding and co-funding in projects with (the Public School Facility Authority and Public School Capital Outlay Council) it looks much more favorably upon on the district."

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