BOWIE — A large cesspool, discovered last May at the off-campus residence of Bowie Elementary school teacher Sonia Canilao, was safely removed by workers from Willcox Rock and Sand Inc. and T&A Excavating, a Pueblo Mechanical contractor, on Feb. 12.

The residence has been owned by the Bowie Unified School District since 2016 and provided to teachers and their families as a home to live, rent-free.

“It just showed up out of nowhere,” Bowie Unified Superintendent Wendy Conger said of the cesspool. “The scary part, it’s been sitting like that for probably about 10 months.”

Conger submitted an application for the cesspool to be dealt with on Oct. 19, and submitted another one on Nov. 19.

According to her description in the original application, the problem was described as “a collapse cesspool (the septic system). The hole is 25 feet deep. The hole is shaped as a bell, with the bottom diameter being approximately 10 feet. Fill the hole with P gravel approximately 2 feet from the top. Fill the top 2 feet, with topsoil. There is a gray water line that dumps into this cesspool. Extend the gray water line, utilizing a leaching field.”

Bowie Unified was awarded $8,325 to repair the cesspool in a Nov. 24 letter from Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and Andy Tobin, executive director of the School Facilities Board.

“You have to remove it,” Conger said. “It was dug up a long time ago and according to (the contractor) needed to be taken care of properly.

“It was also an RV dump in the middle of that. A pipe broken — it was a disaster.

“It cost over $8,000 to fill that. So I’m just thankful the state gave me the money to fix it.”

The cesspool was fixed just in time. Canilao’s three children and her husband were set to be picked up later that day from Tucson International Airport and brought to the residence during their visit from the Philippines, where Canilao is from.

“The process of me asking for the money, doing the application and finally getting it repaired last Friday,” Conger said. “I mean, that’s what schools have to go through to get things repaired and sometimes the squeaky wheel gets the money quicker. If I sat around and didn’t do anything nobody was going to fix it.”

Bowie pool update

Bowie has also been trying to do some repairs on its 85-year old pool, but so far has been left without funds or a plan from anyone outside of the school district to help fix the multitude of issues.

According to Conger, the Bowie Unified school board is going to have another conversation about the pool on March 16 at 6 p.m via a Zoom meeting the public is invited to.

Conger said they don’t have the funding for the pool after taking care of other projects requiring immediate repairs.

“Going to be a meeting I’m a little concerned about, because that’s the meeting where everyone was upset,” Conger said. “They felt like I didn’t want to fund the pool. It’s not like I don’t want to fund the pool. I care about the pool, but I also need a roof that doesn’t leak and a ADA-compliant bathroom. Those are priorities over the swimming pool.

“The pool’s expensive and we don’t have any businesses that can really help us out right now. They’re all having a hard time. Trying to pull any businesses to help fund the pool during a pandemic is not my priority.

“Maybe we can hear what they have to say at the March 16 board meeting and the board can direct me which direction they want me to go in and I will share that with the new superintendent, who hopefully will be on soon.”

Conger has announced she will resign as superintendent at the end of the spring semester.