Tibbetts Middle School

Farmington, NM

The new Tibbetts Middle School is a 97,000 sf modern facility tastefully designed to create a supportive learning environment for Farmington’s growing Westside. This award-winning school supports 650 students for grades six through eight.

Prior to beginning the design process, the team spent many hours listening to Farmington Municipal School District’s leaders, faculty and students to capture the vision for what would become Tibbetts Middle School. The final solution was to create separate classroom wings for each grade level, with opportunities for individualized learning, and organize them around a central light-filled two-story student commons. To support the schools strong focus on its music and performing arts programs, the gym and cafeteria functions are strategically located to allow after-hour community access and use. An additional consideration that drove the overall layout was the real-world challenges and problems of security and safety. FBT arranged the campus to provide teachers and administrators additional security through long lines of sight and vantage points out to the street.

Energy efficiency, environmental conscientiousness, and windy site conditions were all driving factors in the design. The design incorporates several elements of high performance schools – sustainable site, indoor comfort and energy efficiency, water conservation through the use of xeriscape landscaping, etc. All functional areas of the project include natural daylight, natural ventilation and views looking at the Farmington Valley or the San Juan mountains.

Tibbetts Middle School was completed ahead of schedule and $6M under budget.

The Design

A major design challenge was to balance the earthwork on a site with significant slope while having minimal disturbance of natural vegetation to prevent erosion, and ensure campus-wide accessibility. Significant off-site road and utility infrastructure improvements were needed for the undeveloped site.