The school board pared out 11 of 14 applicants for architectural services at its November 12 board meeting. The remaining three firms will be interviewed on December 3, with a selection date set for December 17.
The school district is proposing a new school for approximately 225 students. It would be roughly 50,000 square feet with a price tag of $9 million.
The location will be adjacent to Monument Valley High School. The anticipated construction is scheduled to begin in approximately a year, with completion in time for the 2011-12 school year. Several of the architectural firms suggested that the project could be completed sooner.
Funding for the construction will come primarily from a voted leeway approved by San Juan County voters in 2006. The voted leeway, with matching contributions by the State of Utah, generates roughly $2 million a year for the district.
In the past six months, the district paid the remaining $3.4 million in outstanding debt that was used to fund a prior round of school construction.
School officials were pleased that 14 firms responded to the request for proposals. The chance to build a new school in the heart of one of America’s most iconic landscapes attracted firms from all four states in the Four Corners region.
The three firms to move forward in the process include MHTN Architects of Salt Lake City, UT, VCBO Architecture of Salt Lake City, UT, and Greer Stafford SJCF of Albuquerque, NM.
In addition, the school board approved moving forward on $1.1 million in additional projects in the summer of 2009. These include new gymnasium floors at Monticello High School and Albert R Lyman Middle School, classroom projects at the Zenos Black Center in Blanding, and new concession stands at Monticello, Monument Valley and Whitehorse high schools.
In other business at the November 12 board meeting, school supervisor Ron Nielson reports that $46,250 was paid to district math teachers as part of the math initiative program.
Math teachers in the fourth, fifth and sixth grades can earn up to $5,000 by bringing up the math test scores of their students. Eighteen of the 21 teachers in the program earned some money, with one teacher earning the $5,000 cap.
Funding for the test program comes from a state grant. Nielson reports that officials in the state office and in other school districts are carefully watching the progress of the program.
It is the most aggressive incentive program that the state has implemented. There is one year remaining in the program. Nielson said the program is one of the elements that has contributed to the increase in student test scores across the district.