Award of Merit: K-12 Education: Jal Public Schools
Jal Public Schools
Award of Merit
Owner/Developer: Jal Public Schools
Lead Design Firm: Parkhill, Smith & Cooper
General Contractor: HB Construction
Subcontractors: Alliance Fire Protection; C&C Services; Contreras Construction; Erms; Kermit Concrete; Klein Security; Precision Masonry; Spectrum Flooring; Stevens Industries; Theco; TLC Plumbing; W&W I Afco Steel
This project in Jal, a rural community in southeastern New Mexico, included new elementary and junior high schools, with renovations to the high school’s main building totaling more than 154,000 sq ft of new and renovated space. Crews built state-of-the-art science and computer labs along with a culinary arts facility. The work also included two new gymnasiums, a central office, an amphitheater and a natatorium.
Designers wanted the schools to have an individual identity, although they all share blue ceramic brick and have similar landscaping. The elementary school features gabled roofs and bay windows to create a more down-home feel, while the high school was designed with more modern touches in the form of a flat roof with large shade canopies.
According to the developer, Jal Public Schools “spared no expense on this landmark facility,” which has terrazzo flooring, custom art and designer furniture. The masonry work was complex and difficult, and artists were hired to create a custom-painted window, origami statues and a bronze panther valued at more than $150,000.
Due to Jal’s distance from major cities, it wasn’t easy to find qualified construction workers or to haul materials to the site. To overcome the worker shortage, HB Construction advertised positions in area newspapers, online and in local job fairs. When it wasn’t possible to fill positions with local residents, the company relocated qualified workers to Jal for the project.