Board approves building purchase

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LAPS administration will permanently be housed at 2075 Trinity Dr.

By Jennifer Garcia

The Los Alamos Public Schools Administration moved a bit closer to finding a permanent home during Tuesday night’s school board meeting.
Action taken by the board will allow the purchase of the property at 2075 Trinity Dr. to move forward.
The motion, giving staff direction, passed 4-1, with Board President Melanie McKinley voting against it.
Van H. Gilbert Architect PC, based in Albuquerque, drafted a preliminary report on Dec. 30, which outlines a conceptual entry study as well as floor plan layouts and existing building issues.
According to the report, “the purpose of the conceptual study was to examine the opportunities to improve the entry to the Los Alamos Public School Administration building to achieve greater visibility and function … The conceptual study identified three possible solutions and the advantages and disadvantages of the three options …” The report
further states that the “scope of work for all three solutions is comparable and construction costs for each solution should not vary greatly. All three of the solutions will require some reconfiguration of interior space.”
The report’s conclusion states, “After reviewing the various aspects of this building, VHGA finds that it is possible to make improvements to the site and building to make it functional as the District Administrative Offices. However, there are inherent drawbacks that cannot be totally overcome.”
One of those drawbacks is building visibility for the public. Because of the location off of Trinity Drive, the building will never truly be visible to the public from the street. Also, the floor-to-floor height of the building cannot be changed.
“Items outside the scope of this report, such as asbestos remediation in the older buildings and analysis of any mold problems will add to the cost as well. In the end, the District should consider whether investing a significant amount of construction dollars to achieve limited improvements is truly the right direction for its long term administrative option needs,” the report states.
The architectural firm estimated that the potential cost of the renovation would be $2.2 million.
Though not everyone was happy with the decision to purchase the Trinity Drive property, LAPS Chief Financial Officer John Wolfe said it’s the best possible choice at this time.
“There are a number of issues in the building that need to be addressed,” Wolfe said. “It is the best option.
Assistant Superintendent Paula Dean said, “While the decision is difficult, options are restricted.”
Wolfe said the decision to move forward was difficult and that the board went “back and forth” in trying to make a decision.
“They (the board) tried to figure out if there was any other option,” he said. “There’s no option in the immediate future. We don’t know about down the road, but for right now, there’s no other option.”
Wolfe also said that the board decided to move forward with the purchase because they don’t think it’s a good idea to put payment into the building lease without getting any equity.
Wolfe did not say how long the transaction would take, but he did say, “things should move quickly.”