U.S. Army veteran Mike Bekis, of Fruitland, New Mexico, proudly held his grandson, a Kirtland Elementary School student, just prior to the Nov. 11, 2015 Veterans Day celebration at the school. Bekis was stationed along the West-East German border during the Cold War.
“We were the first defense. Everybody was worried about the Russian tanks. That was the only place they could come through—the Fulda Gap. And we were there,” Bekis said, adding the first time he saw the Berlin Wall he was shocked: “What is this? We’re actually living like this? Eastern and Western Germany—the way it was—what’s going on here?”
The $20 million Judy Nelson Elementary School under construction in Kirtland, New Mexico, is in the shape of a Y. And the new traffic flow is in the shape of an oval.
The top arms of the Y are the classrooms, with the right arm at two stories and the left arm at a single story. The intersection of the Y, which is also two stories, includes the front-office area and offices. The bottom of the Y includes the single-story cafeteria. The first-floor area of new construction is at 56,509 square feet; while the second-story floor area is at 22,548 square feet.
The existing building—comprised of the gymnasium and music room saved from the demolished Ruth N. Bond Elementary—is 15,825 square feet. This existing portion of the school—which has already merged with the new construction—brings an additional lower-left arm to the Y.
Once done, the total square footage of the new kindergarten through sixth-grade school will be 94,882 square feet. It can accommodate up to 715 students. (Preschool students go to the District's nearby Kirtland Early Childhood Center.)