Rio Rancho Public Schools provide education for some 10,000 students through six elementary schools, four middle schools and two high schools. Additionally, there are approximately 50 private and/or parochial schools in the greater Albuquerque area. For those seeking higher education opportunities, the Albuquerque metropolitan area, of which Rio Rancho is an integral part, is home to several colleges and universities including the University of New Mexico, Community College of NM, College of Santa Fe, National American University and the University of Phoenix, just to name a few.
Recreational opportunities abound. The Rio Rancho Sports Complex features 78 acres capable of hosting seven adult softball games simultaneously with separate fields for soccer and football. The nearby Santa Ana Soccer Complex houses 22 well lit soccer fields. Miles of bicycle and hiking trials make for excellent high altitude training. The Blades Ice Hockey Rink is a 60,000 square foot ice and inline skating facility featuring a regulation size ice rink and roller surface.
Don't miss the J&R Vintage Auto Museum with more than 60 restored-to-new antique cars, trucks, fire trucks and heavy construction equipment on display. Residents are also freeway-close to the seven Indian pueblos within Sandoval County and the scenic Jemez Mountain Trail that travels to both Jemez State Monument and Bandelier National Monument.
The history of the area dates back to 1540 when Don Francisco Vasquez de Coronado came in search of the fabled Seven Cities of Gold. Today, visitors to Rio Rancho are enriched by the gold Coronado overlooked?the golden sunsets that set the panoramic vistas aglow. When home building began in 1962, many of the first residents were middle-income retirees. In 1966, the 100th family moved to Rio Rancho and by 1977 the population had grown to 5,000.
In 1971, an additional 35,000 acres were platted. Rio Rancho Estates was now 92,000 acres and larger, geographically, than the city of Albuquerque. By the early '80s, Rio Rancho was incorporated and its population had reached 10,000. A new financing program, offering low interest home loans, changed Rio Rancho from a retirement community to a community attracting young families. The rest, as they say, is history.
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