Rio Rancho may soon get a third high school if voters approve Capital Improvement bonds or SB9 in the upcoming November election.

Two bond projects that will be up for a vote. One: allocating $80 million in available resources, over four years, for the Rio Rancho school system, with no tax rate increase: for increased security, roof replacements and repairs; a new alternative high school; improved drainage; replacement soil for the soil always eroding away from around various school buildings; upgrades of plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems; improved Information Technology infrastructure; Special Education program support; a fine arts production space and band room at Rio Rancho High School ($3 million just for that); and athletic projects.

And, two: SB-9, a public-schools capitol improvements tax, which will help fund schools. Baker also highlighted another notable recent project, the Career Technical Education Center, a collaboration with CNM, the Center a capacious facility able to educate people in all “the skilled trades,” everything from welding to textile manufacturing, all hands-on. The measure would generate $5,473,346 each year for the next six years. 

Why Now?

Mike Baker, Chief Public Officer for Rio Rancho Public Schools gave the county commission a presentation on the bond at the Sept. 13 general meeting. “This year, we actually saw a drop in enrollment, which was actually forecasted. So, although our elementary school population is really flat and actually declining a little bit, our high school population is increasing incrementally,” Baker said.

The district is planning to open the new career technical education, or CTE, center in spring 2025 and has plans for a new Independence High School building in the bond. District representatives said the school could be built on a tract of approximately 100 acres the district owns.

The current IHS building is approximately 28,000 square feet, and the new facility will be approximately 50,000 square feet.

IHS is currently at capacity with 200 students and the new facility will accommodate approximately 350 students.

The old Independence High School building would become the new Special Services Support Center that Baker says is much needed for the expanding student population.

Officials say the cost of the new facility is approximately $26 million. For more info on the bond and allocations throughout the district, visit https://www.rrps.net/page/capital-improvements-bond-sb9

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