Renovation plans scrapped after school found in state of disrepair

Posted at: 09/04/2013 2:15 PM
By: Lauren Hansard, KOB Eyewitness News 4

CAPITAN, N.M. -- What started as a renovation project at Capitan High School has turned into something else.

Last month, KOB Eyewitness News reported Capitan High School students were moved to the elementary school during the construction. But since then, there have been complications.

Crews found a slanted roof, sinking foundation, and corroded pipes while renovating Capitan High School.

"We felt like we were fully prepared, and then once this building was vacated and we saw thar, we're going, 'You've got to be kidding me,'" superintendent Shirley Crawford said.

That put a wrench in the plans and a screeching halt to the renovations.

"With what it will cost to bring this building up to 2013 code, you are very close to what the cost of a new building would be," Crawford said.

The high school classrooms are sitting vacant while the high school students are in the elementary school. But since the renovations are off, the students get to move back into the high school sooner than expected.

The school will be cleaned up, and the district said it is safe for students. Meanwhile, the school district is looking at an expensive new beginning.

"They've done taxed us to death," Capitan resident Phil More said.

One thing was clear when KOB talked to taxpayers on Tuesday.

"I don't want to pay any more money for the school," More said.

A new tax for a high school would be a tough sell, but the district said the $5 million voters approved for renovations can be used to pay for a new school, although it's not enough.

"We want to be completely open and honest with the taxpayers in this community," Crawford said.

Now, Capitan will ask the state for help, but a new school could be a year and a half away. The school board is meeting with architects Wednesday to discuss the new school. It will be discussed at the Sept. 12 board meeting.