Sept.17 is Moving Day at Los Alamos Middle School

Joan Ahlers, asset manager for Los Alamos Public Schools, center, discusses the timing of the Los Alamos Middle School move with School Board President Jim Hall and Vice-President Judy Bjarke-McKenzie. Photo by Bonnie J. Gordon/
Los Alamos Daily Post

Los Alamos Middle School (LAMS) students will spend their first day in the newly renovated school Sept. 17.

The Los Alamos School Board passed a resolution declaring Sept. 17 as moving day for the students in a 4 to 1 vote at the Aug. 23 Special School Board Meeting. School Board Secretary Matt Williams voted against the resolution.

Williams said he preferred the date originally proposed for the move, Sept. 10. He declined to comment on why he thought the original date preferable.

McCarthy will continute exterior work at the Middle School through Nov. 20. The resolution is contingent upon reaching a legal agreement with McCarthy Building Company to extend the end date of the project to Nov. 20 from the original completion date of Nov. 13. Because the portables now in use at LAMS cannot be moved until the Sept. 17 date, the completion date must be pushed back one week, said Michael Horn of McCarthy Building Company.

Michael Horn of McCarthy Building Company addresses the Board. Photo by Bonnie J. Gordon/

Board President Jim Hall directed Superintendent Gene Schmidt to work with the Middle School staff to develop a moving plan, including deciding whether the Middle School will be closed on Thursday, Sept. 12 as well as Friday, Sept. 13 and Monday, Sept. 16.

Earlier, LAMS Principal Rex Kilburn had requested an extra day on behalf of his staff to allow teachers time to work out room logistics and coordinate with other teachers with whom they will share space.

Also, since Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year in the Jewish faith, begins at sunset Sept. 13 and ends at sunset Sept. 14, concern was expressed by some teachers about Jewish staff members having enough time to move.

Although an official announcement will not be made until Monday to give staff time to discuss it, Superintendent Schmidt said he is “quite sure” that LAMS will be closed Thursday.

Several considerations swayed the Board majority to adopt the later move date. Horn said the advantage of the Sept. 17 date is that it gives McCarthy more time to work through the test and balance of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.

Possible disruptions of the school day and possible uncomfortable conditions could pose problems if last minute issues arise, said Robert Herron, Regional Manager of New Mexico Public School Facilities Authority.

Also, the cost of bringing workers to the site at night and on weekends once the school is occupied could cost approximately $14,000 a week, said Joan Ahlers, asset manager for Los Alamos Public Schools.

 “We want to give McCarthy the maximum time to make sure the building is as ready as possible,” Hall said, speaking for the Board majority.




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