Heights Community Center – Albuquerque NM


“Heights Community Center was the first community recreation center in the city and has served generations of Albuquerque residents. It was constructed between 1938 and 1942 as a National Youth Administration Project, one of several New Deal programs active in Albuquerque during the Great Depression. NYA projects were intended to give youth thorough vocational training and revive their interest in education. At the time, it was considered the largest NYA project in the country. Much of the work for the center was carried out by volunteers using donated or salvaged materials.

Several different civic groups in the Heights thought up the idea of a community center, and had land available and raised about $100, but not enough to secure the funding needed to make the center a reality. The NYA had been organized and was looking for a first project, and brought $20,000 to the project, but it wasn’t enough for the cost of materials for construction. So, the boys working through the NYA program made adobes on site, and many other materials were scrounged from schools being torn down around that time.

Since its opening, the center has been a popular location for community events. During World War II, servicemen stationed in Albuquerque for training flocked to dances at the center. Folk, square, and swing dancing groups still actively use the center’s wooden dance floor, which many consider the best in the area. As a Landmark, the wooden dance floor, in addition to all of the southwestern detailing, will always remain intact.

It was modeled after an historic Spanish courtyard house type, features an inner courtyard ringed by a portal with rough-hewn log columns, heavy beams, corbel brackets and vigas. Southwestern design details can also be found along the front faade and throughout the building’s interior, particularly in the ballroom, which includes corner fireplaces, bancos, and exposed vigas, as well as the wooden dance floor.”

-City of Albuquerque

Project Details

Federal Cost Local Cost Total Cost Project #'s

Source notes

"Heights Community Center," Planning Department, City of Albuquerque

Flynn, Kathryn A., editor. Treasures on New Mexico Trails: discovery of New Deal art and architecture. New Mexico State Historic Preservation Division, 1995. 

"New Deal Sites in New Mexico," Atlas of Historic New Mexico Maps, New Mexico Humanities Council.

We welcome contributions of additional information on any New Deal project site.


Location Info

823 Buena Vista SE
Albuquerque, NM 87106

Location notes:

Coordinates: 35.073418, -106.624223

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