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Abo





        Elementary





        School




        & Fallout





        Shelter:





        by Sherrie Bratcher













                                                               Students at Abo Elementary School head back
                                                               into the classroom after an emergency drill in
                                                               May 1967 as Principal Walter Short takes notes.

     An Interesting Mix of Education and Protection


           Believe it or not, there are many individuals in the United States who do not know


           where Artesia, New Mexico is located. Even more surprising is the fact that some


          people do not believe or understand that New Mexico is a part of the United States.


                                On a recent trip this summer, the   understand it, our parents did not talk about it to protect us from worry;
                                hotel receptionist told me that she had   therefore, we knew little about fallout and underground shelters. We
                                 been on a mission trip to Guadalajara,   certainly had no knowledge about the existence of underground schools.
                                 Mexico last Christmas break because   So when I moved to Artesia almost thirty years ago, I was fascinated with
                                 she believed we lived in Mexico. I   Abo Elementary School.
                                  gently corrected her and assured her
                                  that there is a difference between   Abo Elementary School and Fallout Shelter was designed in 1960-1961
                                  Mexico and New Mexico.     by Roswell architect, Frank M. Standhardt, and built by W.R. Bauske
                                                             and Co. The school and shelter were basically a pilot program and gained
                                   During the early1960’s, the Cold   national notoriety after its construction. Discussions by the Artesia
                                   War and nuclear fallout caused fear   Board of Education about building Abo Elementary went on for many
                                   for many Americans, including   months, and in 1961 after much research and deliberation, the decision
                                    us. As children growing up in   was made to construct the underground shelter and school. The School
                                    East Texas we were afraid of the   Superintendent at the time, Vernon Mills, and the APS School Board
                                    Cold War;  not only did we not   were concerned about the safety of Artesians with the entrance of the


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