New Mexico New Deal Sites June 2019 - Photo #1 - Albuquerque: Former High School

Albuquerque NM 16 June 2019: The old Albuquerque High School, 401 Central Avenue NE. Shown here:  the Classroom Building (1937). "Three of the Gothic Revival buildings in the Old Albuquerque High School complex were designed by Louis Hesselden and built by the PWA using labor supplied by the WPA. The buildings included the administration building, gymnasium and library. The whole complex has been restored and converted into business units and residential condominiums called The Lofts at Albuquerque High. The public art created for this building was transferred to the Albuquerque Museum collection when the building was released by the Albuquerque Public Schools."[1]  The administration building is now called the classroom building. The original pre-New-Deal two buildings were the Main Building (1914) and the Manual Arts Building (1927).

"After the school closed in 1974, the property was abandoned due to decay and marked as a blighted area. In 1998, the City of Albuquerque hired a private developer to convert the campus into market rate loft apartments. The renovation was completed in multiple phases. The initial phase involved the renovation of the Old Main Building (1914), Classroom Building (1937), Bulldog Plaza, and the Courtyard. The school walls, chalkboards, floors, ceilings, and interior hallways were kept to maintain the original character, and the existing classroom doors and windows were restored ... Phase three involved renovating the Gymnasium Building (1938), which after years of neglect left the building with water infiltration through leaking roofs and broken windows that damaged the structural integrity of the building. Because the building is considered a city landmark, preserving the original fabric of the interior spaces as well as the building’s character was the primary design driver. By replacing the electrical, heating, and sprinkler systems, improving plumbing to meet code, and restoring original window frames to fit insulated glass, the old gym was turned into 54 loft apartments that vary in size from 500sf to 1,900sf bi-level luxury townhouses. A large center atrium soars three stories above the old gym floor, exposing the facility’s beautifully restored trusses, while linear clerestory windows wash the interior with natural light. A portion of the central grandstand was retained along with the gym's original hardwood floor. This central grandstand area and the lofts in the main gym wing open into the atrium ... Project completion: 2005"[6]

  1. Kathryn A. Flynn, Public Art and Architecture in New Mexico 1933-1943: A guide to the New Deal Legacy, Sunstone Press (2012), p.32.
  2. Historic Landmarks: Old Albuquerque High School, City of Albuquerque website, accessed 9 July 2019: "Albuquerque Public Schools took advantage of New Deal funding and WPA manpower to add still three more buildings to the complex: the Classroom Building (1937), the large Gymnasium Building (1938), and the Library Building (1940). All three were designed by another local architect, Louis Hesselden, to blend with the established Gothic Revival style of the first two buildings [the main building and Manual Arts building]."
  3. High School Gymnasium Plans Are Completed, Albuquerque Journal, 10 June 1936, p.10: "Plans and specifications for the new gymnasium building at the High School were approved Tuesday night bye the city school board. They will now be submitted to the PWA office at Santa Fe for approval and that office will set the date for advertising for bids. The gymnasium building, also housing the music department and cafeteria, will be located at Broadway and Tijeras. It will extend an entire block along Tijeras Avenue. The 20-classroom building now under way on Broadway is also a PWA project."
  4. Public to See New High School Buildings Feb 5, Albuquerque Journal, 18 January 1939, p.2: "The public will be invited to visit the new high school gymnasium and class room building at an open house the afternoon of Feb 5, the sity school board announced Tuesday. The two new structures are now in full use, the cafeteria in the gymnasium building having been put in operation recently. The two structures were built with assistance of WPA."
  5. Open House Planned for Five New City School Buildings, Albuquerque Journal, 10 January 1940, p.5: "The City Board of Education designated Feb. 4 as "open house" at five city school projects recently completed. The projects were built with PWA aid. The projects are the library at the high school, ..."
  6. Historic Albuquerque High School Lofts, New Mexico Architectural Foundation website, accessed 8 July 2019.
  7. New Deal Programs, Living New Deal website: [PWA] [WPA]