education

Bloomfield begins process to replace old softball field with new grass soccer field

Bloomfield Supeintendent Kim Mizell, left, Bloomfield High School athletic director Cecil Linnens and Bloomfield ...more
Bloomfield Supeintendent Kim Mizell, left, Bloomfield High School athletic director Cecil Linnens and Bloomfield Director of Data, Operations and Assessment James Olivas talk about the old softball field on Wednesday during a tour at Bloomfield High School.
Jon Austria/The Daily Times, Jon Austria/The Daily Times

Story highlights

  • The Bloomfield Municipal School District received a positive review for fiscal year 2017 during its audit.
  • Aztec Municipal School District Superintendent Kirk Carpenter thanked Bloomfield for its support in the aftermath of a shooting at Aztec High School.
  • The Bloomfield softball field is currently used as a practice field, and BHS soccer plays at the middle school.
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District must notify state of demolition plans to comply with FY17 audit recommendations

BLOOMFIELD — The Bloomfield Municipal School District has taken the first step toward demolishing Bloomfield High School’s softball practice field and replacing it with a new grass soccer field.

The Bloomfield school board approved an order to demolish and repurpose the field at a regular board meeting on Tuesday. James Olivas, director of data, operations and assessment for the district, said during the meeting that Tuesday’s approval is “just the first step we’re taking to take down the old softball field.”

The district needs the board to approve the project before sending the New Mexico Public Education Department notification about the demolition and repurposing, according to the agenda.

“Currently, we’re in the process of getting quotes to see what the final costs would be to put a nice soccer field out there for our high school students to play on, so this is just us seeking board approval to demolish so that we can move forward at the state level with the official letter notifying them that that’s what we intend to do,” Olivas said.

Olivas said the district was cited in the fiscal year 2017 audit — which was presented to and approved by the board at Tuesday’s meeting — for not following correct procedure to notify the state auditor of the disposition of assets.

James Olivas, director of data, operations and assessment for the Bloomfield Municipal School ...more
James Olivas, director of data, operations and assessment for the Bloomfield Municipal School District, shows a broken window inside the softball practice field press box during a tour on Wednesday Bloomfield High School.
Jon Austria/The Daily Times

According to the audit, the district improperly disposed of a former waste water treatment plant tank in FY17 by failing to notify the state of the disposition. The district staff was unaware of the procedural requirements of disposing of an asset worth less than $5,000, and state auditors recommended the district notify the State Auditor’s Office of any disposition of any of the district’s assets, effective immediately.

The district’s FY17 audit came back with the best possible response — an unmodified opinion, meaning the district’s financial statements are a true reflection of its operations, according to the state auditor.

However, the audit did note six findings, including the disposition procedure. Other findings involved paying a district employee using incorrect federal funding, exceeding indirect costs rates in three federal funds, failing to have proper paperwork regarding special education for Native American students filed on time, and failure to follow bid procedures and purchase order procedures. The auditors recommended procedures to remedy the issues.

The press box, grandstand and backstop for the Bloomfield High School softball practice field is ...more
The press box, grandstand and backstop for the Bloomfield High School softball practice field is pictured on Wednesday.
Jon Austria/The Daily Times

Also on Tuesday, Aztec Municipal School District Superintendent Kirk Carpenter presented the Bloomfield school board with a certificate of appreciation for its support in the aftermath of a Dec. 7 school shooting that left two Aztec High School students and a 21-year-old shooter dead. Bloomfield school staff members and students brought meals and cookies, and sent many messages of support to Aztec, all of which have been instrumental in the healing process for the school and community, Carpenter said.

The next Bloomfield school board meeting is scheduled for Feb. 13.

Megan Petersen covers business and education for The Daily Times. Reach her at 505-564-4621 or mpetersen@daily-times.com.

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