PERALTA  — Los Lunas Schools Superintendent Arsenio Romero announced plans to entirely rebuild Peralta Elementary School during the 2022-23 school year with the district preparing for the relocation of the students during the construction phase of the project.

During a recent meeting, the Los Lunas Schools Governing Committee approved a contract with Two Bears Construction to remodel a portable into office space, the precursor to the construction on a new Peralta Elementary School.

The portable will be recarpeted and painted to make it suitable as usable office space.

“We are starting to prepare now for what that is going to mean for the students,” Romero told the News-Bulletin. “The plan is to move them into the Blue School — not this year but next year during construction.”

After the office space is redone, school resource officers and athletics staff currently working out of the Blue School will be relocated to the Los Lunas main office, allowing for the Blue School to be prepared for Peralta students.

The Blue School, the old Daniel Fernandez Intermediate, located at Sun Valley Road in Los Lunas, currently houses Century High School.

The complete overhaul of Peralta Elementary school is expected to take about 14 months, beginning in the summer of 2022 and is expected to be finished just before the 2023-24 school year.

Peralta Elementary last saw a nearly $2 million overhaul during the 2002-03 school year, adding new bleachers, a media center, a faculty lounge, new restroom facilities, a bus-loading zone, nurse’s quarters, community and staff parking, a new library as well as a new cafeteria and administration building according to previous News-Bulletin reporting.

Romero said sometimes remodels can be a more cost effective route since already-existing infrastructure can be capitalized on, however in the case of Peralta Elementary, fully redesigning and rebuilding the school is more cost effective.

“Sometimes, remodels can be more expensive because you realize that there is more work to be done,” Romero said. “It all comes down in the end to weighing all your options, and I think in the end (the Public Schools Capital Outlay Council)  is leaning towards a complete rebuild for Peralta Elementary.”

Currently, the district is looking at rebuilding the school into a two-story facility, similar to Central Elementary School in Belen.

“It’s a smaller piece of property — about seven acres there,” Romero said. “When you (have) a 10-acre piece of land, you have plenty of room for a building and a playground there. This is a little bit of a smaller lot, so we are probably looking at a two-story design, but that is all still up for (discussion in) design. Nothing is set in stone.”

As for the oldest part of the school, which was preserved following the early 2000s remodel, Romero said he doesn’t yet know what parts of the standing school will be incorporated into the new design.

“Right now, we are going through things that we  want to see built into the new facility,” he said. “You always have those things that are unique about a school building, just little things that we can incorporate into the new place. (This) project definitely has some of those things.”

Ann Parish Elementary is next on the district’s list for a facelift, however the superintendent anticipates that project to incorporate both remodel as well as some brand new construction, The district is still about a year out from design for the project, meaning construction won’t begin on the school for at least another two years.

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Makayla Grijalva was born and raised in Las Cruces. She is a 2020 graduate of The University of New Mexico, where she studied multimedia journalism, political science and history. She covers the village of Los Lunas, Los Lunas Schools, SODA and the town of Peralta.