ALAMOSA — Alamosa’s long-time Head Start building will once again house students.
The Alamosa city council this week unanimously approved a permitted use by special review request for property owner Leland Romero to bring the Rite of Passage School to the former Head Start on Ross Avenue, which has largely been vacant since Head Start moved to the old Boyd Elementary School.
Rite of Passage, which has been operating out of the former Western Auto site, provides educational programs and services to youth ages 7-16 who are troubled, at-risk and vulnerable. The city approved the special permitted use with a limit of 22 students, which the city planning commission had recommended, according to City Planning Specialist Dan Vaughn.
Vaughn said the school currently has 12 students.
Councilor Kristina Daniel said Rite of Passage provides a much-needed service, and this property has been used in the past as a school, so this proposed use is appropriate.
“This is going to be a much better place than where they are currently at,” she added.
Councilman Charles Griego said the building has been used as a church and then a school for many years, and he was pleased to see something going into a vacant building. He said this would be a positive improvement.
Councilman Jan Vigil said he appreciated Romero filling a need in the city, and Alamosa Mayor Josef Lucero said he had no qualms about granting this request, especially since he considered Romero a trustworthy member of the community and former city councilman.
“It’s a privilege to occupy the premises since it’s been vacant for so long,” Romero said. “We have a lot of vacant buildings, and it’s awesome to have that building on the south side occupied. It’s positive for Alamosa.”
Romero added that another benefit to the neighborhood would be upkeep of the adjacent Zapata Park. He said one of the requirements for the students is community service, and they plan to maintain the nearby park as one of their community service projects.