Operating out of a one-story building opened in 1962, and challenged by a large number of facility issues, officials and teachers with the Laguna Elementary School have long been advocating for a new school.
The current building, according to a 2007 facilities report, has for years been burdened with a leaking roof, and both plumbing and heating system deficiencies.
That same report indicated that it would cost at least $570,000 to repair the structural issues in a building that is already nearly 60 years old.
Now the Laguna Department of Education has announced that federal funding to the tune of $26.2 million has been secured through the U.S. Department of the Interior to build an entirely new school.
Like the current facility, the new school will house kindergarten to 5th grade students who are residents of the Laguna Pueblo, some 45 miles to the west of Albuquerque.
The larger pueblo encompasses some 500,000 acres taking in parts of Bernalillo, Cibola, Sandoval, and Valencia counties.
Plans call for the new school, which will house classrooms, offices, storage space, and a computer lab, to be built on a 15-acre site. The structure will be built to achieve LEED Silver certification.
In response to news of the $26 million award, Virgil Siow, Laguna Pueblo Governor, said: “Our Pueblo administration and council has worked for many years to obtain funding for a modern state of the art school to replace the current school.”
Siow, in a statement, added: “Finally, our children will learn in a safe and modern environment.”
By Garry Boulard
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