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Condemned Tohono O'odham School Reopens

A Tohono O'odham school that federal officials condemned in December reopened Monday with major improvements.

In December, the Bureau of Indian Affairs staff shutdown the Santa Rosa Ranch School in Sells after finding many problems including asbestos in the floors, broken windows and electrical circuits and smoke detectors that didn't work.

The principal sent a letter home alerting parents to the asbestos.

For the last two and a half months, the 66 students and staff were bussed an hour away to the closest Bureau of Indian Education School, while the Tohono O'odham and federal officials worked together to overhaul Santa Rosa Ranch School.

Now students and staff are returning to an expanded school with new modular units, six new classrooms, a new dining hall and new computers according to the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Laurel Morales was a Fronteras Desk reporter in Flagstaff from 2011 to 2020.