Plans to update aging Albuquerque Public School buildings

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ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Albuquerque just celebrated the multi-million dollar makeover of Wilson Middle School, but that was just one of a long list of Albuquerque Public Schools’ projects needed to update the district’s aging schools.

Renovations at Wilson Middle School cost about $10.6 million.

“It was very needed. It was time,” said Ann Piper, school principal. “1953 is over 60 years ago.”

It is an old building, like most of Albuquerque Public School buildings.

APS said 60 percent of its schools are at least 40 years old and are in some stage of being rebuilt.

The biggest difference at Wilson Middle School? “Oh gosh,” said Toni Seidler, a teacher and alum of Wilson Middle School. “Well, things work.”

APS said it is improving technology, energy efficiency, class sizes, traffic issues and drainage to prevent flood damage.

“I mean if you’re going to invest $50 million into the rebuild of a high school, for example, you better make sure that there’s no flooding at that site,” said Kizito Wijenje, executive director of the Capital Master Plan Department.

Coronado Elementary is one of APS’ oldest schools.

“Coronado was known as the 4th ward school when it was built in 1894 in what was New Town, which is what is now downtown Albuquerque,” Wijenje said.

When Coronado first became an Albuquerque Public School almost 80 years ago, it only cost about $125,000. A rebuild in 2009 cost $11.5 million.

“It has a computer lab. It has a cafeteria,” Wijenje said. “These are things that weren’t there in the 30s when the school was rebuilt. Kids actually went home to eat and came back.”

As seen at Del Norte, Sandia and soon Rio Grande High School, APS is building up, not out, creating multiple-story classroom buildings.

It is all part of the effort to turn the old buildings into something the district’s new students can use.

Here you can find a summary of plans for each APS school.

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