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Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Roosevelt Proposing New Middle School

Roosevelt School District has decided to hold on to a 20-acre plot of land it had been intending to sell in anticipation of building a new middle school. The campus would accommodate grades six through eight and help relieve nearby schools’ growing kindergarten through fifth grade student attendance as housing developments continue to sprout up around the area. The district has already started researching the middle school model based on that area, looking at factors such as traffic, street accessibility and site planning.


The property, located at 15th Avenue and Vineyard, sits between Conchos, Davis, and Lassen schools, and was therefore deemed inappropriate for another school hosting grades kindergarten through 8th grade. However, administrators consider land ideal for a school housing 6th through 8th graders who would normally attend Conchos, Davis, and Lassen schools. Opening space in these schools would allow the district to draw new boundaries for nearby schools’ attendance zones, relieving their growing classroom sizes for elementary grades. While redrawing boundaries would require more busing, administrators believe rezoning is the best solution to the continuing influx and estimated influx of new students.


As the area’s development continues to expand–especially on the west side–appropriate school sites are becoming scarce. If the district sells the Vineyard site, it would not be able to obtain another to replace it. Governing Board President Ben Miranda expressed concerns over losing this school site.


“If this doesn’t go to a school site, the School Facilities Board will buy us a site that’s less favorable,” said Miranda. “(If) this property goes away and gets utilized for other houses, my fear is if we don’t grab this and put it aside, with the growth that’s going on … we’re going to have to condemn property [for more school sites] …”


Retaining the site on Vineyard would give the district an additional school site in addition to a site that the Arizona School Facilities Board is expected to buy for an elementary school. The district would then have two new schools on its west side. It also plans to build an additional school on the east side of the district’s boundaries. District Superintendent Dr. Mark Dowling is already considering the School Facilities Board’s suggestion to find a real estate specialist who has a successful track record of finding appropriate school sites to help select land for future school properties.


“We need to have some serious discussion of leveraging land we own to buy at least two more school sites,” he said.

The three new schools would help cover the district’s short-range needs. Dr. Dowling is already anticipating the area’s near future. “In our area, development won’t slow. We have the prime spot in the City of Phoenix, and we have been discovered. It’s going to be built out.”


The district expects to place a $6 million bond measure on the 2008 ballot and is hoping to use part of the bond monies to pay for its new schools. 


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