Lincoln Gym Project Dedicated

New “Home of the Leopards” Continues Long Tradition
Posted on 01/25/2019

Lincoln gym ribbon cuttingParents, students, teachers, and dignitaries cut a leopard-print ribbon on January 23 to formally open the new Lincoln Middle School gymnasium.  The project, which took a year to complete, is part of a larger project which also includes upgrades to climate control and lighting systems campus-wide and much-needed additions and renovations to the campus’ kitchen. 

Fact sheet (.pdf) / Photos

Interior of new Lincoln gymLincoln is Rio Rancho’s oldest secondary school and was built originally in 1983, when the newly-incorporated City of Rio Rancho was part of Albuquerque Public Schools.  Its old gym is small and outmoded and no longer meets the standards for middle school physical education and athletic programs. 

Lincoln principal Veronica Sanders and Ass't. Principal Betty Scheppman with stuffed leopard mascotLincoln students and staff are excited about the new gym.  Principal Veronica Sanders (shown at right with Assistant Principal Betty Scheppmann) noted that her school finally has a facility large enough to hold the whole school community at one time. The old gym could only accommodate part of the school’s 900+ students at a sitting, so events were often duplicated for each grade level. 

While all the participants were excited about moving into the new facility, during the ceremony Superintendent Sue Cleveland and other speakers fondly remembered the Rio Rancho school district history made in the old gym.  In the district’s early years, the old Lincoln gym was the highest-capacity venue in Rio Rancho.  

Newspaper photo of Bill Sheppard addressing students at Lincoln in 1995

Among other highlights, the first meeting for staff of the newly created Rio Rancho school district was held in the old gym in 1994.  In 1995, to the cheers of students, Bill Sheppard of Intel announced his company’s historic agreement with Sandoval County and RRPS that made possible the construction of Rio Rancho High.  He held aloft a then-cutting-edge Pentium chip and told the students, “This chip will build you a high school!”  (Historic photo courtesy Rio Rancho Observer)

Exterior of new Lincoln gymThe new facility clocks in at 18,463 square feet and includes, in addition to the gym, locker rooms, restrooms, weight room, concession stand, an outdoor classroom area, and additional parking.  It was designed by Van H. Gilbert, Associates, the firm which also co-designed Cleveland High, and T.A. Cole and Sons was the general contractor.  The $4.6 million cost was funded through the 2012 bond issue (thank you, Rio Rancho!).