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A front-end loader from Jaynes Corp. dismantles a swing set on the playground of Marie Hughes Elementary School to make way for construction of a new classroom building. (Dean Hanson/Albuquerque Journal)

A front-end loader from Jaynes Corp. dismantles a swing set on the playground of Marie Hughes Elementary School to make way for construction of a new classroom building. (Dean Hanson/Albuquerque Journal)

Construction has begun on a new classroom building at Marie Hughes Elementary School in Northwest Albuquerque.

The two-story, 53,000-square-foot classroom building, which will serve students in grades kindergarten through fifth, is part of $21.9 million in site improvement projects that broke ground Tuesday at the school on 5701 Mojave NW, according to an announcement posted on Albuquerque Public Schools’ website.

New administrative offices, a new media center, computer labs, music and art spaces, as well as a new cafeteria/kitchen and mini-gym are among the other improvements, APS said.

“When it’s finished in December of next year, this totally re-built school will provide the innovations in architectural design to assure that students and teachers are able to take advantage of leading-edge instructional practices,” APS acting Superintendent Raquel Reedy states.

Marie Hughes, which opened in 1980 and currently serves 534 students, is the most recent of the district’s 142 schools to begin getting a makeover, the district said.

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APS said money for the project was approved by voters in the 2010 mill levy election and the 2013 general obligation bond election.

The project’s second phase will include demolishing the existing classroom building and removing about 20 portable classrooms. A new loop road for student drop-off and pick-up, and a new bus drop-off area also will be added, according to APS.

G. Don Dudley Architect designed the project. Jaynes Corp. is the general contractor.

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