LCSN: Early College school to offer opportunities

September 17, 2010. Retrieved online September 20, 2010 from Christine Rogel, Las Cruces Sun-News

Here is an artist's rendering of the Early College High School campus. (Courtesy graphic)

LAS CRUCES – “It’s not just a school; it’s an opportunity,” said Early College High School student Joel Macias during Friday’s groundbreaking ceremony at New Mexico State University, which drew more than 100 guests.

The Early College High School (ECHS) opened in July to 117 Las Cruces freshmen at its temporary location at Doña Ana Community College. The first phase of construction will be complete by the summer of 2011, according to Las Cruces school district Superintendent Stan Rounds. Within four years, the school can boast a maximum of 500 students.

The school will be located within the Arrowhead Research Park at NMSU under a lease agreement with Las Cruces Public Schools. The 65,000-square-foot facility is designed by Studio D Architect of Las Cruces and will be constructed by GenCon Corp. of Las Cruces. It will feature classrooms with state-of-the-art technology, a cafeteria/multipurpose center, a student commons area, and administrative and counseling offices.

“It’s so high tech it will make your head spin if you are my age,” Rounds said.

Students also will continue to utilize facilities and labs at both NMSU and DACC, Principal Jennifer Amis said.

Advocates say that the school reflects best practices in education resulting in a national graduation rate of 90 percent. The school aims to reduce the dropout rate by engaging students in the college process early, offering small class sizes and real-world applications in coursework, officials said. Students graduate with a high school diploma and an associate’s degree.

Rounds said that the ECHS will not only provide students with more individual attention, but is also more affordable to run and build as costs were reduced through partnerships with NMSU and DACC. For example, the district doesn’t have the additional expense of building a gym or library because students will use university facilities instead.

Read the Las Cruces Sun-News article.

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