Community input sought on high school project

By Aaron McKinney

Tucumcari Public Schools has recognized for a number of years that our existing high school facility is showing its age. While we have a wonderful new library and a band and music facility that is more than adequate for our needs, the classrooms we must use everyday have challenges. We have heard from students and staff that while this facility was top notch for its time, that time has come and gone.
For example, given the integration of computers into teaching and learning, modern school buildings need more than two electrical outlets in each classroom. In addition, research suggests that student productivity is affected by the classroom environment. The environment needs to be pleasant, with the children neither freezing nor roasting, if we want to maximize student learning.
Taking such needs into account, we have begun working on a new high school facility. The state will help fund a portion of the cost of this new facility, provided the building meets the state’s adequacy guidelines. These guidelines no longer allow state money to fund a facility in excess of the community’s needs. To determine Tucumcari’s needs, the school board, administration, and architectural consultants have held weekly meetings for nearly two months with students, staff, and the public to discuss the “program of spaces” for Tucumcari High School. These meetings constituted approximately 13 total hours. In addition, the consultants met with high school staff and administration, as well as district staff and administration, for over 2 days to assure that all programs’ needs were considered.
Based upon staff input and the participation of over 60 people in public meetings, a high school program has been approved by the Tucumcari Board of Education. This adopted program will drive the design of floor plans and schematic drawings for a new high school facility. Yet there are still opportunities for public input!
We encourage community members to review the adopted program and bring to our attention any oversights or inadvertent errors. Copies of the program guide may be found at Tucumcari Public Schools central office, as well as at the THS office, the THS library, and the Tucumcari Public Library. As this document will provide the basis for the design of the new high school, everyone is encouraged to review it and offer input.
Over the next few months, a final design will be developed. Public meetings on the design drawings will soon be scheduled, and public input will again be sought. With primary funding for the first phase of the project coming from the bond issue approved in February by Tucumcari voters, we ask that the community work with us to ensure that the public’s money is used appropriately to build a new high school we can all be proud of!

Aaron McKinney
Tucumcari Public Schools