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School-colored balloons, white and green, adorned the fence around the north side of Mesa Middle School as the Roswell Independent School District kicked off its new construction project on Friday morning.
“It’s a celebration, it’s my way of seeing it,” said RISD Superintendent Brian Luck at a groundbreaking ceremony for the $ 22 million renovation and expansion of the school, located at 1601 E. Bland St.
“I am a long time resident here in Roswell, and I can assure you this is overdue and I am extremely excited,” he said.
Former RISD superintendent Mike Gottlieb also said it was Mesa’s turn to build a long-term plan.
“This is a plan that took 18 years to get to where we are. We have three more schools to complete, ”he said.
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He thanked taxpayers, the New Mexico legislature and the oil and gas industry for funding to make the project possible.
“We have to thank them,” he said of lawmakers. “Why? Because they looked at Roswell, they looked at our plans for the last 18 years and said, ‘Roswell, you have a great plan, let’s go ahead.’ They fund between 71% and 72% of the cost, ”he said.
The New Mexico Public School Capital Expenditure Council provides 71% of the funds. The cost of the district will be $ 6.1 million, paid for from the $ 14 million general bonds approved by voters in 2019. The district issued the sale of the final $ 7 million of the bonds in January.
James Edwards, vice president of the RISD school board, attended Mesa Middle and now represents the district in which he is located.
“You go to the best college in the county, in town,” he said.
He said if Mesa’s construction was as good as the Del Norte Elementary School, which opened in 2020, staff and students will have a school they deserve.
“It will be an elite school. It’s already an elite school because we have an elite staff, ”he said.
Luck also challenged the students, who were able to attend the ceremony.
“It’s made for you. You are worth it, ”he said. “And now you have a challenge, and that is to fulfill your destiny. Take what you are going to receive in this beautiful, brand new building and go change lives, ”he said.
The 69,789 square foot school structures were built in 1958 and 1961 on 13.9 acres. It is the only one of RISD’s four colleges with a single gymnasium. The construction project will add a second gymnasium with bleachers for 600 seats.
Plans also include a two-story wing for new classrooms, a pickup and drop-off spot, and a new athletic track. About half of the project will be new construction and the other half will be renovation. Construction is expected to take 16 months, said Jeremy Sanchez, RISD’s director of construction.
The neighborhood is also preparing to move forward on the next online project, Nancy Lopez Elementary School. At its Tuesday meeting, the RISD board is due to vote on PA Architects, Albuquerque’s approval for design services.
City / RISD reporter Juno Ogle can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or [email protected]