October 2, 2023

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What should Columbia Elementary School look like?

What should Columbia Elementary School look like?

LAS CRUCES – A newly constructed Columbia Elementary School is planned for opening in 2025, restoring a neighborhood school that was shuttered for public health reasons in 2018.

The school will be rebuilt close to its prior location on Elks Drive, neighboring the Vista Middle School, and at the beginning of the design phase, the district is rolling out a creative series of interactive meetings to solicit public input on building materials, architectural style and layout of the future campus.

At the first of these sessions Wednesday evening, around 40 members of the public including some children were greeted by LCPS Superintendent Ralph Ramos and architect Ray Vigil in the middle school’s cafeteria.

Vigil and other associates from the firm of Vigil and Associates led a swift-moving presentation of the phases and timeline for the project before involving the participants in a series of surveys measuring reactions to a series of conceptual images depicting different aesthetic ideas for the school’s exterior as well as interior facilities. Using mobile phones, participants selected their preferences, with the results instantly displayed on a wall.

Architect Christina Garcia of Vigil and Associates shows conceptual design sketches as part of an interactive session hosted by the Las Cruces Public Schools seeking input into the design of the new Columbia Elementary School. The meeting was held at Vista Middle School in Las Cruces on Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2022.

The survey also asked participants to type some of their favorite, and least favorite, features of the original school building. The app then collated their responses into word clouds, with the most frequently entered terms displayed on screen with the most frequent terms enlarged in size.

The largest term by far for everyone’s least favorite feature of the old building was “mold.”