Out with the old, in with the new. Sandia Base Elementary School students will have a new home in the next couple years, after an Albuquerque Public Schools board unanimously decided Wednesday to move forward on a project that would construct a new school building and level the old one.
“Sandia Base Elementary represents Albuquerque Public Schools. And so we really want to provide our students that come to us … with the best, most state-of-the-art, beautiful school that represents our community well,” Principal Jude Garcia said of the school located on Kirtland Air Force Base. “That’s what we’re hoping to give them.”
The current building was largely built in the early 1950s, and Garcia said the building shows its age. APS’ Executive Director of Capital Construction Karen Alarid added that there have been very few improvements to the building since it was constructed.
“This is going to be a huge improvement for the community,” Alarid said. “I think they’re excited about it.”
The new, 88,645 square-foot, two-story school building will feature a new library, gym, cafeteria and about 34 classrooms. While that building is being constructed, students will continue to go to class in the original building.
After the new building is finished, the original, almost 66,000 square-foot one will be demolished.
Roughly 350 students call Sandia home right now, but the new building would be designed to accommodate some 575, a number that’s based on projections for the school’s enrollment in the coming years.
The project, which carries a roughly $53.5 million budget, is mostly being funded by a construction grant from the U.S. Department of Defense, though some of the money is coming from general obligation bonds and from state appropriations.
The new building will include several new facilities that Garcia said her school community is looking forward to, including music and art rooms, which will allow the school to offer both courses during the same year.
“Everyone is excited,” she said. “It’s (just) that anxiousness of when it’s going to happen.”
Construction is slated to begin this or next month, and the project is expected to take roughly two years to complete.
APS board member Crystal Tapia-Romero was absent for the vote on the new facility plans Tuesday night.