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APS, CNM plan to build site for 2 charters on college campus

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Albuquerque Public Schools and Central New Mexico Community College have reached an agreement to share the cost of a new building on the college’s campus that would house two district schools.

The proposed building is supposed to open in time for the 2017-18 school year, at which point Native American Community Academy and the College and Career High School would move in, according to the agreement.

“It’s a great partnership,” said APS interim Superintendent Brad Winter.

The estimated total construction cost for the new building is $35 million, according to the agreement reached last month. However, it is too early to know what the costs will be because building designs have not been started, said CNM President Kathie Winograd.

Under the agreement, APS would put up $12.7 million, money that already was set aside to build a new school for NACA, and CNM would pay for the demolition of a building that stands where the new one would be built. The district and the college would then split the remaining costs, according to the agreement.

But the deal is contingent on voters approving funding for the project through APS’ and CNM’s 2016 bond elections. If either bond measure fails, the deal is void, the agreement states.

CNM is an ideal location for the charter schools because of their focus on dual-credit classes, Winograd said.

Under CCHS’s curriculum, 50 percent of a student’s course load is dual-credit classes. Students are expected to graduate not only with a high school diploma, but also with an associate degree from CNM.

An APS magnet school, CCHS was created two years ago in an earlier partnership between the district and CNM. It is already located on the CNM campus, but the school is expected to outgrow its current space in the coming years, Winograd said.

Meanwhile, NACA has worked with CNM and requires students to take at least two dual-credit classes to graduate, said executive director Kara Bobroff.

Bobroff said being located at a college will help prepare students for their college careers and will cut down on extra transportation, although some students will need transportation if they are taking dual-credit classes at the University of New Mexico.

The growth of dual-credit courses in high schools is very good for New Mexico because it helps students graduate college, Winograd said.

“Our data tells us that students who graduate with dual-credit classes are more likely to graduate within four years” with a bachelor’s degree, she said.