By Sharon Neiderman- The World Journal
RATON — Thanks to $1.1 million in legislative capital outlay money, the re-purposing of Raton’s WPA-era Kearney School will soon be underway. In addition to the preservation of another of Raton’s historic buildings, Kearney School will house El Raton Media Works/El Raton Studios, a combination production studio and school teaching film trades.
City manager Scott Berry said, “The City of Raton is very optimistic about the development of the Kearny project. It has been proposed to provide commercially available studio space eligible for NM film tax credits, as well as provide training opportunities to residents looking for employment in the industry.” “The funds may be utilized for building restoration and equipment related to these goals,” said Berry. “We will continue to request additional funding for the project, but the first phase will start in 2022 when funding related to the capital outlay process is available to the city.
“New Mexico typically schedules a sale of state bonds financed with severance distributions (STB) prior to the funds becoming available to us. The bond sale can occur several times during the year,” Berry said.
Film Bug Bites El Raton Media Works principal Ann Theis said, “Our team is working with two high school students in Raton who have entered into the first annual Film Prize Jr New Mexico contest. They have both submitted scripts and are currently shooting and editing their films; one is a short narrative about a young man and his potential, and the other is a short documentary about the history of the Shuler Theatre. The films need to be completed by April 6th, and if completed (which we are sure they will be) will be screened in Santa Fe the weekend of April 22nd. We are planning a hometown screening as well, but the details of that have not yet been determined.”