A lot of Albuquerque teens are heading back to school this year to find brand new gym facilities. It’s part of a push to make some of the district’s older schools equal for boys and girls.
Earlier this year it was Highland High School. Last week it was La Cueva. On Wednesday, Manzano revealed its new $24 million athletics facility.
“Now I have people fighting over the weight room. It’s wonderful. It’s a good problem to have,” Matthew Espinosa, Manzano High School’s Athletic Director, said.
Monarchs are feeling like royalty nowadays.
“The first time we came in here we had some girls’ basketball players that were practically in tears because they were so excited when those doors opened… when they actually saw the finished product,” he said.
The 2018-2019 school year kids are the first to use the new facilities, complete with an auxiliary gym, dance studio, cheer and weight rooms.
It’s a big upgrade, and it’s not just because the previous facility was aging. It’s a Title IX issue — the federal mandate says men and women must have equal access to athletic opportunities.
Showing KRQE News 13 the cheer room, Espinosa said, “Just with the construction of this room, we’ve probably seen about an additional 10 cheerleaders show interest.”
As mentioned, Manzano isn’t the only school to undergo changes. La Cueva just opened its ‘Intensive Support Programs’ additions, along with a Title IX compliant gym. Several more high schools are on deck.
Valley HS plans to spend $5 million on Title IX gym renovations and Rio Grande HS will build a whole new Title IX athletics facility with a price tag of $15 million.
It’s a lot of taxpayer money, but Espinosa, a ’97 Monarch grad himself, attests that it’s worth it.
“I grew up in this community and just to see them be able to have such a beautiful thing, and physically be able to see their attitudes change… it took the words out of my mouth. I don’t have words for it.”
Every school in APS has a building wishlist. For a link to see what’s in the pipeline for your school, click here.