LAS CRUCES, N.M. — The first phase of renovations to Las Cruces High School is now underway. The $36 million construction project will revitalize numerous facilities across the 60-year-old campus, and include two new structures.
Work on the high school, which is one of the state’s most populated, will include the addition of several new parking lots and athletic fields, as well as a new student drop-off/pick-up zone for parents. However, a 156,000-square-foot addition will have the greatest impact on the campus.
“Phase I culminates with (the construction of) two, two-story buildings,” said Las Cruces High School Principal Jed Hendee. In a recorded tour of the campus during construction, Hendee also explained that the school’s A Wing, former library, and administrative and counseling areas were all removed in order to make space for the new facilities. The modern addition is intended to help improve student flow between classes, and will be devoted to classrooms, administration areas, a media center and a new performing arts laboratory. To improve student safety, a new pedestrian bridge will link the two buildings, which will sit on either side of El Paseo, one of the city’s busiest streets.
According to Hendee modifications will also be made to the school’s existing B and D Wings. After Phase 1 construction is complete the school will move from a temporary library currently located in the B Wing to a new, permanent facility. The B Wing will also maintain four working classrooms throughout construction.
For the duration of Phase I the school’s D Wing science classroom and lab have been converted into a fully functional registration area and counseling center. Behind the school’s existing H Wing and greenhouse a ditch has also been filled to make more room for staff parking. ADA compliance work will take place throughout the school as well.
"Phase I of this major renovation project will bring a whole new look to Las Cruces High School," said Las Cruces Public Schools Superintendent Stan Rounds. "The project will also have an impact on the El Paseo corridor, and I’m confident the community will be really pleased with the results."
Project analysis for the new high school began in August 2011. A steering committee guided the design process, which was completed in August 2013. According to a release issued by the school, the cost of the total project, which will take an estimated five to six years to complete, is estimated at $82 million.
Wooten|Sundt, a joint venture of Sundt Construction Inc. and Wooten Construction, was awarded the construction contract for the project. Sundt has extensive experience in education construction, having worked on the James P. Butler Elementary School in El Paso, Texas and multiple higher education projects. Likewise, Wooten has constructed more than 100 education facilities for the Las Cruces Public Schools, New Mexico State University, Gadsden Independent School District, and Hatch Valley Schools. Rem Alley Associates, PC & ASA, an architecture firm based in Las Cruces, was selected to design the first phase of construction, which will be completed by August 2015.