A building that once housed the historic Albuquerque Indian School is being renovated as a new home for the Native American Community Academy, a charter school designed to serve Native American students.
The building, at Indian School and 12th Street NW, is on federal land that is held in trust for New Mexico’s 19 pueblos. Renovations began Monday, and the school is expected to be ready for students in the fall of 2013.
The 81-year-old building is the last remaining from the Albuquerque Indian School. It has previously been used as office space and as the headquarters for the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ Southern Pueblos Agency. Michael Canfield, president of Indian Pueblos Marketing Inc., said bringing education back to the building is a perfect fit. Indian Pueblos Marketing Inc. is leading the project and is a corporation operated by the 19 pueblos.
“We are also delighted that we were able to save the last remaining building from the Albuquerque Indian School. This is truly a historical asset that will continue to play an important role in educating our children for many years to come,” Canfield said in a written statement.
The $2.6 million renovation will be paid for through state capital outlay, federal grants and private funding.
The school is chartered by Albuquerque Public Schools, and is now housed in portable buildings next to Wilson Middle School. That space is not big enough for all the students, so juniors and seniors use space at the University of New Mexico.
The school has 340 students in grades six through 12, who come from 37 different tribes. Its charter has been renewed to allow it to expand to the elementary grades. Ultimately, elementary students will be educated at the renovated Albuquerque Indian School site, while the secondary students will be housed in a new building to be built with APS capital funds.
NACA Principal Kara Bobroff said she is excited about opportunities to integrate the building’s history into lessons for students. She said some students have relatives who attended the old school, and she plans to have the students do oral histories. The site is also across the street from the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, so students will be able to access archived information, and the center’s resources can be integrated into the curriculum.
— This article appeared on page C1 of the Albuquerque Journal