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New elementary may open early

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RIO RANCHO – Rio Rancho school district officials are considering opening Joe Harris Elementary a year early to alleviate overcrowding at its other elementary schools.

The district tentatively planned to open the school in 2016, but a recent effort to shift students at overcrowded elementary schools led to talks of opening the school early. It would be located west of Unser between Idalia and Northern. The board discussed the idea at its meeting Monday but came to no decisions. Instead, it decided to get more information before proceeding.

RRPS chief operations officer Richard Bruce, in a report presented to the board, said a complete school would cost the district approximately $21.17 million to build. There were two partial build options. Construction costs on the first option would be about $15.95 million and include the north classroom wing, the core building with the administration and cafeteria and half of the parking. The final option would include the same things but also the shell of the southern classroom wing and cost about $18.9 million.

Board members decided to wait before making any decisions, saying they do not know if opening the school by 2015 is even financially possible. The district would need capital outlay funds from the state and would have to shift its own bond dollars.

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