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Amy Biehl High School Wins National Trust/ACHP Award

Amy biehl High Shool award recipients

Pittsburgh, Penn. (November 2, 2006)—Today the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation presented the National Trust/ACHP Award for Federal Partnerships in Historic Preservation to Amy Biehl High School in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Co-recipients of the award are the New Mexico State Historic Preservation Office and the United States General Services Administration, Public Buildings Service.

Amy Biehl High School is one of 21 national award winners honored by the National Trust during its week-long 2006 National Preservation Conference in Pittsburgh, Penn.

At Amy Biehl High School—which is housed in Albuquerque’s Old U.S. Post Office and Courthouse—the assembly hall was once a federal courtroom, and what is now the reception and study hall was a mail sorting room during the state’s territorial days. Built in 1908, the three-story, red clay tile-roofed structure has occupied a prominent place on Albuquerque’s historic “Banker’s Row” for almost a century, serving as a community landmark and symbol of civic pride.

But in recent years, changes in federal needs had left the building underutilized, and the last tenant moved out in 2001. Fortunately, in that year, Tony Monfiletto, one of the founders of the Amy Biehl High School, began searching for a new home for the school. After much work, negotiations, and construction, Amy Biehl High School entered into a long-term lease agreement with GSA to occupy the building for $100 a month in rent. This equals an in-kind contribution of $11 million over 20 years from GSA. With help from the New Mexico legislature, private contributions, and bank financing, the school secured $3.7 million to remove hazardous materials, replace infrastructure, demolish suspended ceilings, and add sprinklers, among other things.
This past January the new Amy Biehl High School opened its doors. Each day students can view its splendor and soak in the historical meanings in this place that could have just been another empty downtown building—which many American cities face every day.

The National Preservation Awards are bestowed upon distinguished individuals, nonprofit organizations, public agencies and corporations whose skill and determination have given new meaning to their communities through preservation of our architectural and cultural heritage. These efforts include citizen attempts to save and maintain important landmarks, companies and craftsmen whose work restores the richness of the past, the vision of public officials who support preservation projects and legislation in their communities and educators and journalists who help Americans understand the value of preservation.


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