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District office work to free up classroom space

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The Rio Rancho school district has started work on a construction project that will open up more classroom space.

Crews have started preliminary work on the expansion of the district office at 500 Laser Road that will add more office space, a new, larger boardroom and a warehouse.

This week, crews started moving dirt and getting the area ready for construction, said Al Sena, the district’s executive director of facilities. The district awarded Gerald Martin a $5.63 million contract for the project that will be funded with bond money.

The work entails adding a 13,000-square-foot, two-level warehouse and 16,000 square feet of additional space to the district office that will result in a larger boardroom and more offices. The district has about 2,500 square feet of storage space right now.

Sena said the existing public entrance to the district office will remain the same but there will be direct public access to the new boardroom.

Most of the project work is scheduled to be completed in September, while the warehouse work will be done in December, Sena said.

Once completed, the district will be able to relocate staff that currently has offices in one wing of Rio Rancho Middle School to the district office. Part of the middle school campus is now used as a school, while the other classrooms house the district’s Curriculum and Instruction Department.

Kim Vesely, spokeswoman for the district, said several ideas are being considered for the freed up classroom space.

The district could expand the current middle school or turn the building into two different middle schools.

She said the idea being explored most seriously right now is whether the campus could be used as a fifth-grade satellite campus to help alleviate overcrowding at Maggie Cordova, Ernest Stapleton and Martin Luther King Jr. elementary schools. The RRPS board will discuss this option at its meeting Monday.

The district recently considered shifting some elementary attendance boundaries but decided against it after opposition from parents and concern that the benefit of shifting a few students was not worth the turmoil it might cause for them. Instead, the district decided to wait until it opened Joe Harris Elementary in a few years.

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