21st Century Schools at Holloman

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April 24, 2023
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Choosing the right school for their children is a top priority for military families. They are an increasingly important factor in the retention and quality of life for Airmen, Guardians and their families. In the past few years, Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, has invested heavily in its school infrastructure, ensuring families feel welcome and want to stay.

As a result of evaluations conducted in 2011 and 2018, Holloman elementary and middle schools were placed on the 2019 Department of Defense’s “Public Schools on Military Installations Priority List” due to capacity and facility condition deficiencies. Landing at 48th and 50th place respectively, both schools needed urgent attention to be able to provide a space for students to learn and thrive.

With the rapid decline of the school facilities and an understanding of the effect it would have on retention, Alamogordo School District, along with Holloman community members, used funding that was provided by the district to replace the elementary school and submitted an additional proposal for a grant to replace the middle school.

The elementary school was in the process of being replaced through state and local dollars when the Holloman military community got the news they were waiting for. In January of this year, the Department of Defense awarded a $59 million grant from the Office of Local Defense Community Cooperation to enhance the already started elementary and rebuild the failing middle school on Holloman Air Force Base. The grant was a direct response to the proposal submitted by the school district and community leaders.

LaurieAnn Goodier, School Liaison Program Manager, is the subject matter expert on Pre-Kindergarten through twelfth grade at Holloman Air Force Base. Her portfolio also includes Public Schools on Military Installations and Military and Family Life Counseling.

As the only school liaison on base, Goodier has her hands full working with command teams, community stakeholders and directly with families. Her role also works to build community education partnerships and is pivotal in ensuring a grant of this magnitude goes through the right process.

“This grant has been years in the works!” said Goodier. The two public schools on base are part of the Alamogordo School District and lease the land from the Air Force that the schools are on.

“The $59.6 million will be used to completely replace the middle school, building a 21st-century facility, and will create outdoor spaces and enhance the elementary school campus,” said Goodier. “The vision is to have an integrated campus where the schools can share outdoor spaces and the residents that live on base would be able to use the space.”

The Holloman Elementary School has the capacity to serve 600 students, while Holloman Middle School will serve up to 312 students.

While the construction on the middle school has not yet started, the building of the elementary school is well on its way and has been an all-hands operation. Requiring collaboration across numerous different flights, the 49th Civil Engineer Squadron was instrumental in facilitating surveys, navigating the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process, testing the soil for contaminants, and assisting the district with the reporting process.

“We rely heavily on our installation partners,” said Goodier. “The CE squadron helped us with our land lease renewal to ensure that we met the requirements with the Office of Local Defense Community Cooperation.” In addition, the 49th Security Forces Squadron ensured the elementary school building was sufficient and up to code on anti-terrorism and contingency response protocols.

The grant is a big step forward for Holloman. “Education is a huge priority for our command team” underscored Goodier. “It’s almost unimaginable that this is actually happening, and we are going to have two brand new campuses on base.”

The two school rebuilds will improve the quality of education for military-connected students and in turn, improve the quality of life for military families. It is also a significant indication of the success installations have when they work through partnerships with their communities.

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