‘I want answers and accountability’: School gym equipment left outside for months

Albuquerque News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A full gym’s worth of equipment has been sitting abandoned at an Albuquerque public high school since the start of the semester. Highland High School confirms it’s been outside for about two months, and some people are really angry about that.

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“Just shock it was abandoned, just left outside- thousands and thousands of dollars of equipment that taxpayers pay for,” one Albuquerque woman, who wanted to stay anonymous, said.

On Tuesday, more than two dozen pieces of gym equipment were seen, everything from workout benches and universal weight sets to treadmills, exercise bikes, and what looked like ellipticals.

Highland High School Athletics Director John Barnhill said there’s just no storage space for it. It was originally moved a couple of years ago when the gym was undergoing a $12 million renovation that came with a new weight room and new equipment.

All the older gear went into the woodshop and auto shop to use during that rebuild. Now, the shop space has been converted back into something else, leaving the old gym equipment without a home.

Barnhill said some of it is more than 20 years old but it’s all still in good condition. He said he’s received calls from local gyms looking to buy some of it but APS would have to sign off on that, and it’s unclear if the school tried to get that permission.

The athletic director does claim he called the district last week to pick it up but was told they didn’t have the proper equipment to haul it away.

The anonymous woman, who keeps noticing the ditched machines, said the district should have acted sooner. “I want answers and accountability,” she stated. “If they can’t use it, give it to another school, donate it, find something appropriate to do with it, but just to abandon it so that it gets destroyed is just a shocking waste of resources.”

Barnhill said he knows there are other schools in the district that could use it.

KRQE News 13 asked APS what they plan to do with it all and why not store the equipment elsewhere. Officials say they are working to find out. The school didn’t have an estimate for how much all that gym equipment is worth.

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