Old Albuquerque High School


301 Central Ave. NE Albuquerque, NM  87102

Access:  505 247-3935  |   EDo Spaces   (access may be limited)

The Old Albuquerque High School complex dates to 1914. Its Gothic Revival style appearance—dark red brick, white trim, peaked pediments, and grouped windows—was the choice of many educational institutions across the country in the early 1900s. The original Albuquerque High served as the city’s only high school from 1914 to 1948, when Highland High School was built. It continued as a school until the 1970s when the new Albuquerque High opened. The old campus was then sold and changed hands several times during the following decades. The vacant buildings deteriorated and even suffered a fire, awaiting a new purpose and funding.

Between 1989 and 1996 the City of Albuquerque bought four of the buildings in an attempt to stabilize them and find a partner/developer. Eventually the development firm Paradigm & Co. became part of a team that determined the buildings could be refurbished one at a time and so render the work financially viable. Renovation—for conversion to offices and residential loft units—began in 2001 and, in turn, became the spark for the renovation of the area now called EDo (East Downtown).

Old Main

1_DSC8704 Old Main South Facade
Old Main

Completed:  1914
Architect:  Trost & Trost
Contractor(s):  seeking info*

As the first building for an intended enrollment of 500 students, Old Main housed all the necessary spaces: classrooms, a science lab, gym with bleachers, library, and an 850-seat auditorium. Spaces were remodeled through the years as the campus grew. This building set the Gothic Revival style for all the others, as well as the large windows (natural lighting during the day was the norm), high ceilings (that allowed heat to collect above occupants’ level), and wood floors. Its 2002 renovation included apartments for rent or ownership.

3_DSC_9757 Sculpture EC
Sculpture Detail on Old Main

Manual Arts Building

Completed:  1927
Architect:  George Williamson
Contractor:  seeking info*

This building housed woodworking and other shops with vocational equipment, as well as standard classrooms. The renovation includes two levels of apartments and ground-level spaces for use by the tenants.

4_DSC8741 Classroom
Classroom Building

Classroom Building

Completed:  1937
Architect:  Louis Hesselden
Contractor:  WPA

The Classroom building, like its precursor Old Main, has 15-foot wide corridors, 13-foot high ceilings, wood floors, and large windows. And, as with Old Main, the renovation (also 2002) converted classrooms to loft apartments.

2_DSC6544 Apt Interior

The wood floors were redone and the windows were refurbished to hold insulated double-glass panes. Some units retained their chalkboards. Many lofts have a sleeping area above the enclosed bath.



Completed:  1938
Architect:  Louis Hesselden
Contractor:  WPA

In the original design of the Gymnasium, Hesselden skillfully retained the scale of the remainder of the campus by establishing the game floor below grade and stepping down the masses of the volumes to the east and west. The building contained the kitchen and cafeteria as well as locker rooms for the gym. The gym space is naturally lit by two clerestories on the east and west sides, which are supported by very impressive trusses. The 2002 renovation dealt with the challenges of converting the use to 54 residential units, addressing the level changes to meet the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and maintaining the clerestories, trusses, and open space below—and which is now the 3-story atrium/commons for the residential units.


7_DSC8738 Library copy

Completed:  1940
Architect:  Louis Hesselden
Contractor:  WPA

The Library’s major features are the large windows and the open interior space that high school librarians always insist upon. The high ceiling of the Library makes for a very grand feeling. The renovation of the Library has preserved the open plan of the original space and the substantial natural lighting in its current use by FatPipe ABQ, an incubator/co-work space for technology businesses. The walls remain lined with bookshelves.

Campus Lofts


Completed:  2004
Architect:  Dekker/Perich/Sabatini
Contractor:  Richardson & Richardson

This new building, comprising residential units, completes the campus quadrangle. Rather than imitate the Gothic Revival style of the remainder of the campus, the design harmonizes with the other campus buildings by using similar scale and brick color. This approach is recommended by the National Park Service guidelines for new buildings within historic sites.

Landscape Renovations: Bulldog Plaza, Entry Drive and Fountain

9_DSC6527 Circle
Bulldog Plaza, Entry Drive and Fountain, Landscaping (post-renovation)

Renovation completed:  2002
Landscape Architect:  Dekker/Perich/Sabatini
Contractor:  Richardson & Richardson

The central quadrangle, Bulldog Plaza, is refurbished and has become the courtyard for the renovated complex. The axis of symmetry of the Beaux Arts-style layout focuses on the restored Gymnasium to the north. Senior-class gift artifacts have been retained and celebrated. The circular entry drive and its fountain are new and serve as the “front door” to the complex. All street frontages have added landscaping and trees along the sidewalks.

Building Renovations

Renovations completed (Old Main, Classroom, Gymnasium): 2002
Renovations completed (Library): seeking info*
Architect:  Dekker/Perich/Sabatini
Landscape Architect:  Dekker/Perich/Sabatini
Contractor (Old Main, Classroom, Gymnasium):  Richardson & Richardson
Contractor (Library):  RE Davis Companies

Renovations completed (Manual Arts building): 2007
Architect:  John Briscoe
Contractor(s):  Hadron Construction

Renovation awards:
New Mexico Architectural Foundation, Architecture + Community Award for Historic Buildings (2018)
Best Renovation/Restoration Project Over $5 Million, Southwest Contractor (2005)
The Phoenix Award (2002)
The Albuquerque Conservation Association (TACA) Award (2002)
Urban Revitalization Award (Home Builders Association of Central New Mexico; 2002)

LEED certification: Gymnasium Lofts

National Register of Historic Places:  seeking info*
NM State Register of Cultural Properties:  #508  (6/3/1977)
City Landmark (Albuquerque)

Learn More:
Henry C. Trost Historical Organization
Old Albuquerque High School (Wikipedia)
Manual Arts Building



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