School board decides on seating

By Kevin Wilson

Three inches, and $20,000 in savings, made more of an impact than 60 chairs on the Portales School Board at Monday night’s meeting.
The board approved a purchase from Norcon of New Mexico for seating as part of a renovation for the Portales High School Auditorium. The proposal from Norcon covers the installation of 442 chairs, plus the removal of the existing chairs, for $63,675.
A proposal from New Mexico School Products outlined the installation of 502 chairs, plus the removal of the existing chairs, for $84,291.
Portales Schools Superintendent Jim Holloway said that one of his deciding factors in recommending Norcon was the size of the seats. The NMSP chairs would be 18 inches across, and the Norcon seats were all at least 21 inches across.
“We looked at the size,” Holloway said, “and although the engineers and architects tell us that 18 inches across is enough for an adult to sit down, we’re a little more ‘blessed’ here.”
Holloway said the auditorium currently seats 477.
The seating is one of many changes that will happen in the auditorium, including new curtains and new lighting for both ceremonies and theater productions.
The money is available through $225,000 in capital outlay funds.
The board breezed through the meeting in less than an hour, and most actions dealt with tying up loose ends before the 2004-05 school year — employees at the meeting indicated that 2004 seemed like a quick summer.
Nat Gomez, the director of maintenance, said that work is still going on with sidewalks across the Portales High campus but he anticipates no problems.
“It’s going to be torn up for a while,” Gomez said, “but as long as nobody gets excited on us, we should get it done in time for the school year.”
When students return to PHS, they’ll have slightly altered graduation requirements. The board approved a proposal from PHS principal Melvin Nusser to eliminate a geography/health credit from graduation requirements due to budget constraints and projected student enrollment.
In its place, the school will offer one additional section of U.S. history, world history and government/economics to help lower teacher-to-student ratios. The health credit would be addressed each semester, as part of the school’s physical education curriculum.
In other business, the board approved the use of PowerSchool as a method of data storage.