Copyright © 2018 Albuquerque Journal
Charlotte Trujillo, principal of South Valley Preparatory School, describes the building that will be the school’s new home as a dream come true.
In the summer, South Valley Prep will move from its roughly 10,000-square-foot campus to a 22,000-square-foot building at 2551 Karsten Court SE.
The charter school is getting an upgrade from its current location that used to be military barracks, according to Trujillo.
“Just an impossible dream,” she said.
Primarily made of portables, South Valley Prep was quickly outgrowing its campus.
Trujillo had requested to expand the original location at 2813 Gun Club Road SW, but the county told her the property was at capacity and no more portables could be added.
But come July, South Valley Prep’s new building will give the kids resources they haven’t had before, such as a conference room, teachers’ lounge, health center and science lab.
It will also be safer for the kids, Trujillo explained, as the new building has only two entrances and houses all of the classrooms. And it’s not on a busy road like the Gun Club location.
South Valley Prep ran into problems with the foot traffic in the area, having to remove signs off its outdoor bathrooms because people in the homeless community would use the campus’ facilities.
Trujillo said parents have been accommodating about the move despite it being seven miles away from the original location.
“Parents have told me that it’s not about convenience but about quality,” she said, adding parents have been working together to start carpools where needed.
Moving was always the plan since the school opened in 2010. And the state Public Education Commission officially approved the relocation request in April.
The occupancy at the building on Karsten Court is about 235, according to Trujillo.
The principal plans to ask the PEC to increase the school’s enrollment cap in the future.
It’s a bittersweet move as the building is the former home to Academy of Trades & Technology, a school that is shutting down after its charter wasn’t renewed, said Trujillo and Academy of Trades & Technology’s Chief Financial Officer Alfred Martinez.
After learning that the Public Education Department would likely recommend nonrenewal, the academy sought authorization under Albuquerque Public Schools but was denied late last year.
But it’s ultimately a win-win, because the building will still have students in its halls who will use the materials left at the school, Martinez said.
And he noted that South Valley Prep serves a similar demographic with a student population of primarily Hispanic and low-income students.