Portales prepares for bond election

By Casey Peacock: PNT Staff Writer

Built in the 1930’s, both Steiner Elementary School and Lindsey Middle School are facing issues of building maintenance and upkeep, along with safety concerns.

Community members are being asked to support a $9.5 million bond that would be used to build one new facility that would take the place of both schools.

Absentee voting began on Aug. 24 and will continue through Sept. 14. The election will take place on Tuesday, Sept. 18.

“It’s extremely important to be able to give the kids what they need,” said Rick Segovia, principal at Lindsey.

A master plan has been developed within the district that outlines the needs of each school and prioritizes their greatest needs. At Lindsey, items that are of high priority include: Safety issues, updating to continue to meet fire codes and remodeling of the restrooms, Segovia said.

“Ultimately, it’s the kids that will benefit from this,” Segovia said of building the new facility.

Becky Flen, principal at Steiner Elementary, is also facing many of the same issues as Lindsey. In both schools, the main offices are located out of sight of the main entrances, something that is a great concern to both administrators, she said.

“That’s a major concern because we can’t see who’s coming in and out,” Flen said.

Flen also stated that the school has had issues with the roof. It has also become costly to heat and cool the building. Throughout the school, tile is beginning to come up in places and mortar is beginning to break off of some of the door frames, Flen said.

“It has served this community well. It’s had it’s grace but it needs to stand in it’s place in history now,” Flen said of the building.

In June, a presentation was made to the Public School Capital Outlay Committee to build a new school instead of renovating the existing schools. The committee awarded the school district $11.8 million for the project, pending the passage of the bond. The estimated cost to renovate the existing schools is $26 million dollars, while it would cost approximately $16 million dollars to build a new facility, according to information released by the Portales Municipal School District.

At a glance

• Voters are being asked to vote to pass a $9.5 million dollar bond for the Portales Municipal School District.

• If passed, the bond will provide funding to build a new facility that would replace both Steiner Elementary and Lindsey Middle School.

• First and second grade students will be moved into James Elementary; Third and fourth grade students will be moved to Valencia Elementary; Fifth and sixth grade students will be moved into the new facility.

• Steiner is listed as No. 6, while Lindsey is listed as No.14 on the New Mexico Public Schools Authority list as being most in need of renovation.

• The new building would provide facilities that can be utilized by the community, including a gymnasium, cafeteria-dining and a library-media center.

• Absentee voting will take place until Sept. 14, in the Roosevelt County Clerks Office, located in the Roosevelt County Courthouse.

• Voting will take place on Sept. 18, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at voting districts in Portales.