APS works to improve aging schools

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) - Albuquerque Public Schools is working to update its aging schools, from fixes to the roofs and HVAC systems to complete rebuilds.

"We have 140 schools. Every single one of our schools has needs," APS Chief Operating Officer Scott Elder said.

He said it is a complex process prioritizing which APS students get new or updated classrooms.

This week, Mary Ann Binford Elementary got exciting news.

"I think probably just like many of our schools it had just hit a point of aging and needed a new facility to be more effective and appropriate for our students," Elder said.

An APS committee on Monday approved the design for a 27,000 square foot building with 20 classrooms to replace the west side school.

Elder said the average age of campuses is 40, adding there's a formula the district uses to decide which ones get help first.

"The state orders an architectural review of all the schools in the state and the schools are ranked," he explained. "We use information from that ranking and then we balance it against our district needs to develop a Capital Master Plan."

Then, voters approve bond money to fund that plan.

"For a while, the west side was just experiencing explosive growth, so we had to build schools on the West Side at a really rapid pace. Now that that's slowed down a little bit, we can make sure we're able to be more balanced and comprehensive across the entire city," Elder said. 

The next four facilities in line for a facelift are the Montessori of the Rio Grande Charter School, Janet Kahn and Ventana Ranch Elementary schools and the Sandia Mountain Natural History Center.

Elder said APS wants schools the community can be proud of.

"We're building some really beautiful schools that are places that people can be really proud of. And for our kids, they're really good learning environments. They're clean, they're safe, they're well-lit. It's pretty awesome."

APS said when a bond election or mill levy passes, the district gets the money over six years. Elder says this is why it can only work on an average of four to seven projects a year. 

To view the Capital Master Plan Summaries, click here. 


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