New Mexico school prepares to say goodbye to historic building

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San Antonio Elementary 4_432815

SAN ANTONIO, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s the end of an era for a small New Mexico village where one elementary school is closing its doors after 82 years.

It’s believed to be one of the oldest operating schools in the state, but this year will be the last in their historic school house.

Built in 1928, San Antonio School is more than just an old building where kids line the hallways everyday. The 5 to 10 year-olds attending school there know their school is special.

“Everybody knows everybody and it’s pretty cool,” said one student.

Head Teacher John Ray Dennis says it’s always been that way.

“It’s such a small school that we’re just like one giant family,” he said.

There are only a handful of teachers and classrooms, with a gym and a playground.

While the building has seen a few upgrades, “It’s not much different, it’s still the same love that you feel when you walk in,” said Mary Gallegos.

Gallegos has been apart of the school for 40 years as a parent, volunteer, secretary and now, as a grandparent.

“I’m probably going to cry the last day of school,” said another student.

It’s an emotional time as students start their last school cycle in the historic structure. But the site of the new school won’t be far away.

“I’m very excited about the construction of the new school, but I think at the same time, this is very dear to me,” said Dennis. “It’s been my home for the last 22 years.”

They’re hoping to tie in the old with the new, and maybe find a place for the old hand prints scattered along the walls — memories from kids who walked the halls 60 years ago.

The plan is to convert the old school house into a community center. And they say they’ll still use the gym for local events.

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