. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Henderson announces AHS is NMAA Director’s Cup winner for Class 5A

The Artesia Public Schools Board of Education approved funding Monday for Phase II of the Artesia Aquatic Center project.

The board approved a CES job order contract with Jaynes Corporation in the amount of $4,631,623.36 – contingent upon DFA approval and the City of Artesia’s approval of a Joint Powers Agreement with the district – for the second phase. Phase II of the project consists of the natatorium portion, which will consist of a 14,800-square-foot facility with two pools, an eight-lane, 25-yard pool, and a 3.5-foot deep warmup pool, bleachers on each side with seating for approximately 400 persons, bathrooms, showers, and offices.

Phase I of the project – the outdoor, recreational portion – is already underway and was funded in the amount of $11.5 million by private donors.

APS Superintendent Dr. Crit Caton received the board’s approval for the JPA with the City of Artesia for the construction phase and coownership of the property, as well as the job order for the construction and a JPA with the city for operation of the center. Caton reported the APS and the city will be 50/50 partners in the property ownership.

The City of Artesia will be responsible for the day-to-day running, staffing and maintenance of the facility, and the APS will pay a yearly lease fee of approximately $150,000 for their usage of the facility. Caton said there will be a four-person Aquatic Center Committee for the purpose of scheduling of events, consisting of two individuals from the district and two from the city, and the two persons from the district will be Athletic Director Cooper Henderson and Assistant Superintendent of Operations Thad Phipps.

All of the above is contingent upon the City of Artesia’s approval of the agreements and their portion of the funding, which is $2 million.

“I would like to say that I appreciate Mayor (Raye) Miller,” Caton said, “for not only the friendship we have established over the past couple of months but just being able to call him on the phone and he picks up and I do the same; we both shoot straight with each other, and we let each other know how we feel. It’s been a process that’s been really refreshing. He knows where I stand and I know where he stands, and I appreciate the candidness that he brings to the table and being able to work with the city on this project.

“There were some waves along the road, but we are looking forward to beginning the project and doing some good things for the kids in our town.”

Henderson announced to the board that Artesia High School is the recipient of the 2018 NMAA Director’s Cup for Class 5A.

“I would first like to thank the board and the administration for the support of activities and athletics, because without your support, we wouldn’t be receiving the award we are receiving tonight,” Henderson said. “This past year, both in our activities and in our athletics, we had quite a few teams that went a long way into the playoffs and our activity groups and our athletic groups that won state. At the end of the year, the NMAA totals up all those points, and in our classification it’s pretty tough when you have to compete with Academy and some of the districts that have a wide variety of activities, but this year we won the 5A classification with 2,280 points.

“The part that I am most proud of in all of that is the fact that you can lose points – you lose 100 points every time you have a player or a coach ejected from a ballgame, and it’s really amazing when you see how many points some schools lose over those kind of issues… like four or five-hundred points, some of them. In 5A and 6A this year, we were one of four out of 48 schools that didn’t have an ejection, and to me, that’s something I am as proud of as the award itself is not having any negative points.”

In other business, Assistant Superintendent of Personnel and Student Services John Ross Null received the board’s approval to adopt the 2018-19 District Focus Areas, which include upgrading each school’s visitor management system to improve the screening, identification, record-keeping and reporting of visitors at each campus, upgrading interim assessment platforms to effectively administer assessments and track student mastery of state standards, and to research and develop a plan to accommodate anticipated growth in the district enrollment.

Null also received approval to renew the 2018-19 license for reading and math diagnostic and assessment software from Renaissance Learning in the amount of $103,267.57.

Business Manager Janet Grice received approval of the APS 2018-19 operating budget.

In employment actions, Caton announced the retirement of Maria Vasquez, bilingual education teacher at Roselawn Elementary; the hiring of Amy Boatman, band instructional assistant, Artesia High School, Sonya Delgado, custodian, AHS, Vickie Grousnick, fourth-grade teacher, Hermosa Elementary, Mary Lavato, third-grade teacher, Central Elementary, and Adam Sanchez, history teacher/coach, Park Junior High School; and the resignations of Nicholle Bridgmon, third-grade teacher, Central, Amy Gomez, special education teacher/coach, Park, and Stacy Mitchell, kindergarten teacher, Grand Heights Early Childhood Center.

Caton reported there are four certified vacancies currently in the district for two special education teachers and two elementary teachers.

The next regularly scheduled meeting for the board is at 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 13.