Beautiful Building -- Good Bye.


The smell of the fried potatoes from Whataburger made me hungry. I had parked my car and stuffed my shorts' pockets with phone and camera and keys and was hiking it over the tracks on Menaul to document one of my earliest memories of Albuquerque being torn down.


I had driven my daughter and her friend by the Stronghurst Complex on their way to school because we had seen that the demolition had started the day before. Daughter shot a few pix from the car window. She voiced again her thoughts, "Why do that to such a neat building - look at those murals on the walls!"


I talked about how some buildings have problems that are too expensive to fix. I heard that the new exhibit on the Alvarado at the Albuquerque Museum says the same thing about that wonderful building, too - there were awful structural problems. I had never known that about the Alvarado.

In my APS teaching days in the 80's and 90's Stronghurst was known as the North Area Office. In those years APS was divided into 3 areas (North South and East). And a very effective administrator, Ed Marinsek - an APS veteran himself I guess, did a fine job managing all the North Area schools which in those days included all the Rio Rancho schools, Corrales, and a few West Side schools too. They had a wonderful Materials Center where my cooperating teacher Patty Evans took me as a student teacher to check out multiple copies of books for small group activities known then as "committees" that I loved to design. I would continue throughout my next 8 years to go there. Once I scored the best acquisition from the Discard pile at the front door - Language Arts Texts written by Bill Martin - famed children's author. These I still own and cherish as some of the most meaningful literature in a basal textbook format!!! From the Discard Pile.


But this image here is in my brain from when I was a wee one.

We visited my grandma here each summer from 1958 on thru when she moved away in '73. And when I moved here in '78 to live, I would pass this facade and have this amazing bell rung. Of course other routes rang bells too - from 'pre I-40' days, from 'not much Heights' days, from 'nothing on 528' days. This bit of Territorial Style architecture (note the brick lintel - UNM's Bainbridge Bunting taught it well) always rang that old bell of recognition for me - beautiful building at that well-traveled corner of 2nd and Menaul.

I only had these tiny interactions there. Many have worked there, day in and day out, for years. And school kids and Elementary Teachers and Principals and Coaches and Nurses and Staff Members - many of those must have strong attractions to Stronghurst. I bet APS has some recognition happening.

Some of the most useful, beautiful things get discarded, don't they?

Beautiful Building, good bye.

Views: 211

Tags: APS, Complex, Stronghurst, demolition

Comment by cc on May 8, 2009 at 12:49pm
Hi - yeah I noticed your posts earlier in the week and my attempt to help obviously didn't work. (they are all small files from iPhoto to my email .... Yikes!) I will go where you told me. Thanks!
Comment by Adelita on May 8, 2009 at 1:11pm
My sister went to school at Stronghurst. Artist Margaret Chavez was her 1st grade teacher there. It's always hard losing these landmarks. Thanks cc for documenting this! And thanks to your daughter for her pictures!
Comment by Ron Da Bomb on May 8, 2009 at 1:32pm
Hi cc, I took the liberty to crop your top photo to banner-size (500x165 px) if you'd like to use it. You should keep the original pic in your post (place it lower)... I've attached the jpg to this message. Just delete this post when done uploading it...cropped.jpg
Comment by cc on May 8, 2009 at 2:26pm
Thanks for your help, Ron Da Bomb - you came to the rescue!
Comment by killbox on May 9, 2009 at 12:19am
Nice post, There are a good number of us here that wince every time something old and interesting gets knocked down, mostly becuse it will probably soon be replaced by a McDonalds or a Walmart.

Thanks for doing what you did, unfortunately usually by the time many of us know about it the wrecking ball has already struck.

-killbox urbex practitioner, photographer, and amateur historian.
Comment by Barelas Babe on May 9, 2009 at 9:55am
Great post and memories, cc. I've only been in the Stronghurst complex once, but it was enough to stir flights of fancy about by-gone school days. Thanks for taking the time to preserving a piece of APS history for us here on DCF.
Comment by cc on May 9, 2009 at 10:54am
Thanks everyone for the feedback.

Here's what I found through Google - a pdf from a Fall 2007 APS Board Mtg..
ALBUQUERQUE PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Capital Outlay/Property/Technology Committee Meeting November 6, 2007
Board of Education Meeting November 7, 2007
To: Board of Education
Subject: Demolition of Buildings on Tract A, A.P.S. STRONGHURST
COMPLEX
Requested Action: Board of Education approval to Demolish Stronghurst Buildings
Background Information: The Board of Education owns the improved real property
known as TRACT A, A.P.S. STRONGHURST COMPLEX, located at the NE corner of
Menaul Blvd. and Second Street in NW Albuquerque (the “Stonghurst Complex”). APS
had the Stronghurst Complex under contract for sale for $1,352,000.00, significantly
higher than the appraised value of $1,200,000.00. APS had performed all required
elements to close the sale, except it was not able to obtain the approval of the State Board
of Finance to consummate the sale. As a result, the purchaser terminated the sale.
The Stronghurst Complex contains some asbestos, and the APS FDC and M&O
departments have performed analyzes of the structures and have determined that they are
structurally deficient and functionally obsolete for occupancy. They have estimated that
it would be cost prohibitive to try to renovate the improvements for occupancy. The
proposed purchaser had made the same determination and had intended to abate and
demolish the improvements in order to develop the property for an alternative use, and to
that extent the proposed purchaser had obtained an estimate of $271,000 from Keers
Environmental to abate and demolish the structures (current proposals will be obtained).
The APS Administration does not have a definite plan at this time for the Stronghurst
Complex, but believes it is prudent that the District abate and demolish the structures in
order that the site will be available for future uses by APS, or for sale or lease to generate
additional revenue for the district, and also to alleviate any potential liability from having
the unoccupied structures on the site. It is estimated that once the site is cleared of the
structures, it will be much more valuable than it is now with the buildings that detract
from the value.
The School District Administration recommends that the Board authorize the abatement
and demolition of the buildings located on the Stronghurst Complex.
Comment by Baker A+D on May 10, 2009 at 6:13pm
Yeah, great post. It is a shame to see this great old Albuquerque school go down. I had a feeling it was coming for a while. It may have had structural problems - but actually you can say that about most of the old buildings in ABQ. We didn't build with proper foundations and often our framing sizes were undersized. I just think it is far too easy to say, "sorry, structural problems; she has to come down." I will say that this structure suffered from its location - there was no real financial impetus to re-use this building.

Mark
Baker Architecture + Design
Comment by cc on May 10, 2009 at 6:38pm
Yeah - the acquisition of the big office bldg for APS over on Indian School took away the need for office space that Stronghurst fulfilled for so many years, I bet.

In the 80's that idea of splitting the district up into 3 areas was neat in my mind. And it wouldn't be a bad idea today either. That's just my opinion.

The remaining one story west wing has that west entrance hallway's beautiful painted horse murals, in the style of some Pueblo Artists - they are signed Micky I believe. They are stunning. I wonder if someone will come and claim those pieces of walls when they are bulldozed.
Comment by cc on May 10, 2009 at 6:42pm
Baker A +D - I went to your site and saw the new Duranes building you all built - now that's inspiring design for young people!

Thanks for sharing your viewpoint - a pro.

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