New Mexico School for the Arts’ New Campus Officially Underway

March 16, 2018



SANTA FE, NM, March 16 – The nationally-acclaimed New Mexico School for the Arts will officially kick off construction of its new $30 million campus at the historic Sanbusco Market Center in the Railyard District on March 16 at 10:00 am. NMSA has financed the first phase of construction solely through private sector 



“Our performance since the school was founded in 2010 has exceeded all expectations, and this new phase of growth will enable us to serve even more students,” said Cindy Montoya, President of the NMSA Arts Institute, a nonprofit responsible for funding the school’s arts programming. “NMSA currently serves 217 students from 29 communities and pueblos across 7 state counties; the new campus, which will include a new residential hall for children who live over 75 miles from the school, will allow us to increase the student body to 360 students.” 


NMSA is the only public high school that offers students across the state a dual-curriculum program that combines rigorous, award-winning academics with intensive, pre-professional training in the arts in one of four disciplines: visual arts, music (vocal or instrumental), theater and dance. The school also offers a minor in creative writing and literature.


The 72,668-square-foot Sanbusco site will further the school’s academic and artistic educational prowess by providing greater access to its innovative programming. The campus is planned to be built in three phases:


   • Phase One will include classrooms, a media center, administrative offices, a counseling center,       art studios, rehearsal spaces, practice rooms, and kitchen; 

   • Phase Two will add dormitories that triple the current residential capacity, as well as a full               cafeteria and an exterior student courtyard; and 

   • Phase Three will include a state-of-the-art performing arts center.


“A key consideration when choosing the site was proximity to public transportation, such as the Rail Runner and the bus lines,” Montoya added. “Providing access to students coming from other parts of the state is critical to our overall mission, so the Railyard location is perfect.”


The Railyard also gives the school closer proximity to the city’s center, and the new campus there is expected to boost the area’s economy in the short- and long-term, according to an independent economic impact analysis conducted by O’Donnell Economics & Strategy of Corrales, New Mexico. The study found that NMSA’s recurring contribution to the City of Santa Fe over the next ten years at the new campus site is estimated to be $80.3 million, or approximately $8 million annually. 


“Competitive cities nationwide see advantages in a diverse population and are funding large projects to attract young people to live, work and play in their spaces,” said NMSA Arts Institute Board Chair Ned Bennett. “NMSA’s new location in the Railyard brings these demographics to the city center automatically, and gives us the opportunity to become a community partner in ways that we could not on Alameda.”


NMSA serves an ethnically and socioeconomically diverse student body, almost half of which are minorities – 30 percent Hispanic, six percent Native American, four percent Asian and four percent African-American. The school has one of the highest academic records in the state, with a graduation rate of 95%; a composite ACT score 8.6% higher than the national average and 15.7% higher than the state average; and a 100% acceptance rate to colleges, universities, conservatories and other post-secondary institutions. Recent graduates have been accepted to the Arts Institute of Chicago, NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Berklee College of Music, Rhode Island School of Design, Penn State and CalArts, among others. 


Since its inception in 2010, the public high school has been located in the former St. Francis Cathedral School on East Alameda. While there, it has served thousands of students from more than 60 communities statewide so successfully that it has been named a National Blue-Ribbon School, one of the highest national honors in education, and has been rated ‘A’ by the New Mexico Public Education Department every year since 2012, among other impressive designations.


About NMSA 

Founded in 2010, New Mexico School for the Arts, based in Santa Fe, is the only four-year, statewide, public high school serving young artists across New Mexico with a rigorous, award-winning dual-curriculum arts mastery and academics program.



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