School of Thought
Builders of the largest high school in Las Cruces, N.M., say it is scheduled to be delivered to its owners in May 2012, six months later (by mutual agreement) than originally proposed. The new high school for Las Cruces Public Schools will not replace the existing Las Cruces High School, which will remain open in its current location.
An early hurdle was the discovery that the site was actually an old landfill, says Tiffani Lucero, project manager for Albuquerque-based Gerald Martin General Contractor.
“We had months of remediation,” says Johnny Barton, vice president for general construction at Gerald Martin. “We took the buried old concrete and asphalt and created aggregate material for base course onsite.”
He says the company processed 64,000 cu yds and removed only 2,500 cu yds as trash.
Because subsections of the school were put out in successive bids, the company had time to notify the school district of the landfill problem and include cleanup costs in its total bid.
Still, “It’s one of the most challenging projects we’ve ever put together because every governmental agency in the locale is involved in the project,” says Rob Richardson, senior vice president of the Albuquerque-based civil engineering firm Bohannan Huston Inc.
The 70-acre campus is part of a 160-acre tract owned by New Mexico State University. The land was leased to the Las Cruces Public Schools and annexed by the city.
Dona Ana County became involved because a .5-mi county road will be needed to provide access to the school from the city. That side project will require an intersection, signage, acceleration lanes and a large culvert built over an arroyo.
The land is bordered on three sides by federal Bureau of Land Management properties. The fourth side is privately owned. There are mineral rights issues. State educational boards are active participants.