North Mesa gym

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Williams, Sean

Dec 14, 2021, 9:44:54 AM12/14/21
Members of the School Board,

First, I don’t represent the County Council or the county government at all. These are my personal opinions on the matter of the proposed middle school gym. I would have liked to attend your meeting to give these comments in person, but the Council has a meeting tonight too. And with glyphosate on the agenda, I can’t very well skip it.

Unless things have drastically changed in the last week (and your agenda materials look to be copied from the Council’s), the real question being posed tonight is about siting the gym.

I don’t know if Mr Jaurigue is on this mailing list, but Ms Green may also not have seen the earlier presentations. So I’ll go into a bit of detail here. Four sites have previously been proposed for the gym: site one is next to the cafeteria, site two is south of the bus driveway, site three is east of the parking lot, and site four is just north of the school.

The proposed contract with fbt architects lowers the number of sites being considered to two. Though the contract presented to the Council and the Board doesn’t indicate which two sites (the contract refers to a map, which wasn’t included in either body’s agenda materials), Ms Laurent told me that it was sites one and two that would be explored.

Personally, I’m strongly opposed to site one. The gym is intended for mixed school/community use - hence why I’m emailing in the first place - so I don’t think the gym should be so far into the school proper. I don’t think we should encourage random adults to mill about at a school, and that goes the other way too: I would feel weird crossing a middle school campus to get to a public gym.

Site two is worth investigating, but I think the earthwork will greatly increase the project budget. It’s worth putting a number to my worries, which is why I would support design work for this site.

I agree that the concerns with site three are serious. I don’t actually know how much traffic Hawk Dr gets, but requiring routine street crossing by middle schoolers is an issue. I believe Mr Boerigter also expressed hesitation about site three cutting into the land for the affordable housing project. So it does seem reasonable to drop this site.

Site four, I think, deserves serious investigation. Yes, the area north of the middle school is slated for a sixth grade expansion, but there should be ways of reconciling these two projects. Without seeing actual plans for the expansion, advocating for or against this site is arguing with shadows. On the other hand, site four is close to the parking lot, so it’s good for community use, and I believe the site is flat and relatively free of underground utilities. The only question is whether the sixth grade expansion could accommodate it, and I feel that that question needs to be seriously considered by both the School Board and the Council. And specifically, considered with evidence - preliminary site sketches for the sixth grade expansion - rather than dismissed out of hand with vague statements from staff.

Personally, I think this should be decided at a joint session. With split meetings, the best I can do is share my growing unease with this project. Which is to say, I think this project is great in principle, but the devil’s in the details.

With sympathy for the devil,
Sean Williams
Los Alamos County Councilor

Williams, Sean

Dec 14, 2021, 10:42:56 AM12/14/21

I should probably have included this in the earlier email, but for clarity, here are the four originally proposed sites.


On Dec 14, 2021, at 7:44 AM, Williams, Sean <> wrote:

Members of the School Board,
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