Construction for new K-5 school underway in Tuba City

Local Navajo and Hopi tribal members attend a construction job fair at Tuba City’s Hogan Restaurant last week for a K-5 school in the Tuba City-Moencopi community. Photo/Rosanda Suetopka

Local Navajo and Hopi tribal members attend a construction job fair at Tuba City’s Hogan Restaurant last week for a K-5 school in the Tuba City-Moencopi community. Photo/Rosanda Suetopka

TUBA CITY, Ariz. - Tuba City Unified School District (TCUSD) has hired construction workers and initial earthwork is underway in uptown Tuba City for a new digital k-5 school.

The state-of-the-art school will feature green technology building concepts, cloud computing capability throughout all the buildings, classroom and research pods, passive and active solar and tribally appropriate cultural design elements.

The new school has been on the planning and drawing board for the past five years and after a successful school board vote last year, construction is finally underway.

The school is necessary in order to offer students new technology and green building advances to keep pace with educational building and school research standards outside the Navajo Nation.

The old middle school building was built in the 1950s and was not able to provide the electrical wiring or energy needs to use computers or cloud research on portable devices.

This is the first time this kind of school building has been attempted on any Native American reservation in northern Arizona.

A job fair took place May 11 at the Hogan Restaurant to offer construction jobs to Navajo and Hopi tribal members as first priority hiring and then anyone else who was qualified for these positions in second tier hiring.

The job fair event packed the house with interested applicants who showed up to apply and also take advantage of the on-site finger print processing background check that is now required for any type of construction work at a school building work site.

Jessica Bateman, marketing director for CORE Construction, Inc., the company in charge of the overall project for the district, gave information about the project for Tuba City and Moencopi communities.

CORE was originally founded in Illinois in 1937 and started an office in Arizona in 1982. CORE is ranked as the second largest school builder in the United States.

Bateman said CORE is currently working on a large school project on the Apache Reservation.

According to Bateman, the job fair in Tuba City, was typical of CORE and was put on to generate public awareness and local worker participation for projects on the Navajo Reservation.

Bateman said CORE works to hire Navajo construction professionals and currently has one Navajo man who is a full time national trainer for project management software tools. He travels the country to CORE offices and provides standardized instruction to other project management teams.

CORE will also look to hire a full time project superintendent in Flagstaff and intends to hire a local assistant to the construction superintendent for the Tuba City project, Bateman said.

More information on the Tuba City school project is available from TCUSD Construction Project Manager Wayne Nez at (928) 283-1015 or Jessica Bateman at (602) 684-4580.

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