SHIPROCK — Central Consolidated School District board members last week heard a presentation on survey results recommending that a new school be built to replace aging Ruth N. Bond and Grace B. Wilson elementary schools in Kirtland.

Ruth N. Bond was built in 1969 and accommodates pre-kindergarten through third grades. Grace B. Wilson was built in 1984 and houses fourth through sixth grades.

The New Mexico Conditional Index, which ranks the state's schools most in need of repairs, lists Grace B. Wilson at 12 and Ruth N. Bond at 34.

The survey results were presented to the board by Marilyn Strube, vice president and facility planner with GS Planning, Colleen Bowman, director of operations for the district, and Dennis Fieldsted, coordinator of buildings and construction for the district.

A crack in the wall of the Ruth N. Bond Elementary School cafeteria in Kirtland is seen on July 17. The crack was caused by expanding soil sediment.
A crack in the wall of the Ruth N. Bond Elementary School cafeteria in Kirtland is seen on July 17. The crack was caused by expanding soil sediment. (The Daily Times file photo)

As part of the process, an advisory committee was developed comprised of parents, community members, administrators, school employees and board members to help review the survey results and recommendations based on input by teachers and community members.

Survey results showed support for making all Kirtland area elementary schools accommodate kindergarten to sixth grades. The recommended way to accomplish this configuration is to build a new school on land occupied by Grace B. Wilson and Ruth N. Bond, and have the new school's capacity set at 700 students so it can serve kindergarten through sixth grades.

Both Kirtland and Ojo Amarillo elementary schools would continue to house kindergarten through sixth grades and maintain the same student capacity.

The district would keep the gymnasium at Ruth N. Bond and would be responsible for its operation and maintenance costs.

Strube said some community members were concerned about the mixing of students in a school that houses kindergarten through sixth grades, but the new school would be designed to limit the interaction between older and younger students.

Construction for the new school would not start until the 2016-2017 school year because this is the first part of the process, Bowman said.

"It's not going to happen overnight," she said.

Among the next steps is approval of the recommendations by the school board as well as requesting review, support, comment and direction by the New Mexico Public Education Department and the Navajo Nation Council's Health, Education and Human Services Committee.

Board members also received an update on the construction project for Naschitti Elementary.

The district advertised for a general contractor and three companies submitted bids, Bowman said.

After reviewing each proposal, staff recommended Flintco LLC, she said.

Flintco is headquartered in Oklahoma City, Okla., with an office in Albuquerque.

"They'll probably be the best company to build our school for us," Bowman said.

Board members could vote on the recommendations for Grace B. Wilson and Ruth N. Bond elementary schools and approve the general contractor for Naschitti Elementary during the regular school board meeting Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at Newcomb Middle School in Newcomb.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 and Follow her @nsmithdt on Twitter.