Featured in Mike Smith’s book, Towns of the Sandia Mountains, this building was an active school from
1920 through 1950. When High Mountain Homes purchased the property in 2006, it had fallen upon hard
times. An old mobile home and 14 stripped vehicles littered the property, which was overrun with weeds
and trash. The schoolhouse itself was suffer-ing from years of neglect and decay. It seemed impossible
that it would ever be suitable as an office for our growing company and we considered tearing it down and
building a simple office building in its stead. But in the end, the obvious historical importance of the
school made us consider renovation. Even more importantly, the fact that many local residents who had
actually attended the school approached us and told us their stories, made us commit to saving the
Thus we began the long process by first cleaning up the property. All the vehicles were re-moved and
sent to Albuquerque to become scrap metal. The mobile home was taken by an employee to a lot in
Moriarty and refurbished. All debris was removed from the school-house and unstable sections, which
had been added on later, were removed. Concrete footings reinforced with steel were poured under the
existing walls to provide a solid foundation for the old building. Concrete footings and a slab were also
poured for the new adjoining addition. All of the existing stone work was re-grouted to ensure the stability
of the old walls. We were incredibly fortunate to have Julian Chavez, a master stonemason and life-long
resident of San Antonito to guide us in our renovation and in constructing the addition.
The interior, which had no insulation, no central heating, a dirt floor, no kitchen or bathroom, required
much work. First we compacted the dirt floor, laid down 2”of foam, 4” of crusher fines, radiant heating
tubes, and then poured 4” of concrete. Then a beautiful quarter-sawn oak plank floor was installed. Foam
insulation was sprayed into the ceiling and blown-in cel-lulose into the walls. The walls were covered in
plasterboard and then a diamond finish plaster was applied to complement the exposed stone. A full
bath, another half bath, and a small but functional kitchen completed the interior restoration.
The biggest challenge we faced was how to make the addition appear to be an integral part of the original
schoolhouse. We accomplished this by using local stone to maintain the rustic façade and then by
repeating the massive corner buttresses on the addition.
Finally, after several months of laborious work, the schoolhouse was returned to its for-mer glory. We
believe we succeeded in creating a unique yet highly functional office space, while still preserving an
important piece of New Mexico’s history.
|Restoration and Addition
The Old San Antonito Schoolhouse
12504 State Highway North 14
In 2009, owners Sharon Marks and David Engelman were presented with an Award of
Recognition by the East Mountain Historical Society for their efforts in the restoration of
this historically significant building in the Village of San Antonito. High Mountain Homes,
now known as Engelman Construction, was responsible for the remodeling and restoration
of the schoolhouse. For more information on Engelman Construction, click here.