Hopi High renovates with stimulus funds
POLACCA, Ariz. - Hopi High School has received $7.9 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, also known as the stimulus funds, to renovate its auditorium, gymnasium, fix the heating and cooling in the building and make other improvements.
Forrest Waggoner, senior project manager/construction manager for Arcadis-U.S. for the past 10 years, said the construction workers will work around the students and staff in order to ensure safety.
"It will be inconvenient for everybody, but the students have been cooperative," he told the students during a recent assembly informing them of the pending improvements.
Waggoner, who taught carpentry classes in Payson for 23 years, said he is available to talk to classes and make students aware of opportunities in construction.
Garlyn Navakuku, director of facilities management at Hopi Jr/Sr High School, told the students that he has worked here since the school opened. He told the students that they are part of the team.
Navakuku said $7.9 million is a lot of money to put back into the school. He said the auditorium will get new lighting and new flooring. He said a new heating and cooling system will be installed replacing the old system.
After the prom in April, the gym will get a new floor and new bleachers. There will be new locker rooms and restrooms.
Navakuku said math and science are a big part of the engineering field. He hopes students will get a learning experience from this project. He said letters have been sent out to parents informing them about the project.
Navakuku noted that the idea for the stimulus funds is creating local jobs. He said approximately 25 Hopis worked on Phase One and 10 have been hired so far for Phase Two.
Arcadis-U.S. is managing the project. Woodruff Construction is the general contractor with 21 subcontractors.
The auditorium will get new seats, carpeting and heating and cooling. The gym will get a new floor, bleachers and heating and cooling. Heating and cooling will be improved throughout the building. The kitchen will get new equipment. Roadwork around the school and teacher housing will be improved. Site fencing will be put up around the softball and baseball field areas. New bleachers and scoreboards will also be installed.
Last summer, Phase One used $1.4 million to improve lighting, carpeting and suspended ceiling work. Only $800,000 was used so the remaining funds rolled into this year's work.
Phase 2 began Feb. 14 and will include construction crews and large pieces of equipment such as cranes. There will be strict restrictions for staff, students and community access while the construction crew is on site for the safety of students and staff.
A career day will be held in late April or early May to have interested students meet with architects, project managers, welders, painters and electricians and hopefully pursue construction careers.
Patrick Secakuku, business manager for Hopi Jr/Sr High School, is responsible for the allocation of funds and paying the general contractors and subcontractors. He makes sure that everything is spent within the budget line items.
Secakuku is working in conjunction with the Office of Facility Management and Construction and the Western Region BIA Facility Management and local education BIE line office. He makes sure the cash flow goes through the proper places and in a timely manner to pay the invoices.
Secakuku maintains due diligence with this ARRA stimulus grant funding due to the strict requirements set forth by the stimulus bill and strict reporting requirements through the federal government reporting system.
Navakuku said the school will be renovated to BIA standards and will serve students for the next 25 years.
Waggoner commended Navakuku for his work on the project.
"Facility Management, headed by Navakuku, identified what needed to be done," he said. "It was a godsend to all BIA school systems that received these grants.
Waggoner and Navakuku said they thank the parents, students and community for being safe and following the directions of the project. They thank the Hopi Tribe Revenue Office, Hopi Tribal Employment Rights Office, Hopi EPA, BIA Western Region, BIA Office of Facility Management and Construction in Albuquerque, N.M., local BIE offices, the Hopi Jr/Sr High School Governing Board and administration for supporting this grant project.