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Pueblo of Zia New Mexico

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The pueblo's day school received more than $7.6 million from the BIA to build a new school. The new 44,425-square-foot school will serve an estimated 157 students - more than twice the current enrollment - and will offer grades kindergarten through eighth. "The tribe is sending their students to other schools because of the poor conditions of their existing schools,'' said Norman Suazo, chief of the planning design and construction division for the BIA's National Construction Program in Albuquerque. Suazo said the school doesn't have adequate library facilities or a gymnasium that accommodates the children's needs. "If I was a parent, I wouldn't send my child to that school either,'' he said. The new school is scheduled to open for the 2002-2003 school year. Construction is expected to start within the next 60 days, after the pueblo advertises and awards the contract, Suazo said. Last year, Congress appropriated more than $141.5 million to replace more than six BIA schools, including Zia, Baca Consolidated Community School in Prewitt and Wingate Elementary School in Fort Wingate. The BIA funds 187 schools serving 50,000 students on 63 reservations with a $1 billion backlog in construction and repair work.

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