Española School Board Sends Albuq Company Packing

The Española School Board met July 15, 2015 at the Carlos Vigil Middle School. Valley Daily Post image

Española School Board Sends Albuq Company Packing:

Remodeling Of Four Portables At EVHS May Not Be Ready By First Bell – Local Contractor Sought

By Robert A. Naranjo

ESPAÑOLA   – The Española School Board met July 15, 2015 at the Carlos Vigil Middle School.  In one surprise during the night, the Board chose not to take Superintendent Bobbie Gutierrez’s recommendation to hire Albuquerque-based Facility BUILD (FB) on a sole bid for remodeling work that Gutierrez said is “most urgent” on four portables at Española Valley High School.

Gutierrez informed the Board of work that is needed and has “been appalled at the condition at the high school,” particularly some restrooms for “health and safety issues” but the “most urgent is getting our classrooms ready for our freshmen.”

Gutierrez outlined the proposed work on the portables including, “…new flooring…that won’t come up, putting a coating on outside, ramps making those slip resistant, take away the rusted look that they have right now, doing some painting inside and outside of the portables, ceiling tiles, building in some shelving for…computer work stations… for testing, for make up testing, especially for the English classes who have a lot of materials, fixtures that need to be replaced”. Gutierrez estimated the cost of renovating the eight classrooms at $162,000.00.

Gutierrez briefed the Board on FB’s past work, including some “in our District but it’s been a while…,” and introduced Cameron Kilcup, account representative and Larry Ford, project manager.

At this point, Board Vice President, Lucas Fresquez interjected saying “I feel uncomfortable approving a $176,000 thousand dollar job without getting… some bids. And, another thing, I’m big on local, I understand that you’ve worked here but I know we have some competent contractors here that can handle these jobs. ”

Cameron Kilcup addressed the Board and stated that the company specializes in good, quick work like what is needed on the portables and he cautioned the Board that time was running out to finish work on the portables before school starts.  

Some Board members expressed surprise at the bid amount (as too high) while Superintendent Gutierrez attempted to address by saying it was a good price given the work that needed to be done.  

However, given Fresquez’s persuasive argument to use local contractors, no board member was going to go out on a limb and endorse FB.

After discussing the issue School Board President Pablo Lujan called for a motion to hire FB for the remodeling work on the portables. No Board member was willing to make the motion so the issue died for lack of action. With no motion offered, FB was sent packing back to the Duke City. 

Not everyone was as keen on local contractors as Fresquez was.  A parent, who wished to remain anonymous, attended the meeting and told the Valley Daily Post that her son was an incoming 9th grader. “As a parent of a freshman, I worry that the portables may not be ready on time,” she said. “How’s that going to affect my son’s learning environment,” she asked.   She added that her son will be a new student in old portables and hoped that that would not happen, but time is running out for everyone. Her last statement was quite telling. “I going to find a school for my child out of the district,” she said. When asked what school? This concerned parent said she didn’t know but would begin to look.

The Valley Daily Post spoke with FB’s Cameron Kilcup and Larry Ford. Kilcup said he felt he had wasted his time coming from Albuquerque for the Board meeting but added that he understood that hiring local was important but reiterated time is running out and more than likely school will start and the work on the portables will not have been completed.  With that prediction, they exited the building.