Construction Begins on New Laveen High School
Although land clearing started in February, Phoenix Union High School District officials held a formal groundbreaking ceremony on April 5 at the future site of Laveen’s newest high school.
Planned just south of Baseline Road between 57th and 59th avenues, the unnamed school will encompass 59 acres, take up to 17 months for completion and, when finished, accommodate as many as 2,500 students. Funds for construction of the school came as a result of the $205 million Bond Construction Program, which was passed by voters in November 2003. The Phoenix Union High School District Governing Board recently approved a maximum guaranteed cost of $57,949,258.
“We are utilizing a process called the Construction Manager at Risk, whereby the contractor (Adolfson and Peterson Construction) has to build it for that price or less,” said Craig Pletenik, community relations coordinator for the Phoenix Union High School District. “The initial construction will be for a school of 2,000, with one of the classroom buildings designed to be built later, when needed, for an eventual capacity of 2,500.”
Additional design elements incorporate mountain views, energy-efficient exposure to the sun, a park-like mall meandering through campus, smaller parking areas, as well as a student-centered main entrance with student services and a media center. From a learning perspective, the design makes use of “smaller learning communities” or smaller schools within a larger high school framework that emphasize a more personalized approach, in addition to more familiarity with students and teachers.
Although the school won’t open until Aug. 6, 2007, hiring will begin this summer or fall with the selection of a principal.
“Usually we will paper screen, interview and then the final couple candidates will have an open community forum where they will present and answer questions,” Pletenik said.
Once that position is filled, additional staff will be appointed during spring 2007.
Attendance boundaries have not yet been determined. Once they are established by the district’s governing board, they will not affect current students at Cesar Chavez High School, where attendance boundaries extend from Central Avenue west to past 79th Avenue and from the Salt River south to South Mountain and along the Gila River Indian Community perimeter.
The new high school will begin with a freshman class and possibly a sophomore class.
“We’re expecting about 600-800 students our first year,” Pletenik added. “A typical freshman class is about 800 students at our existing schools.”
Cesar Chavez High School opened in 1999 with about 900 students split evenly between the freshman and sophomore classes.
Residents can expect to see some road improvements during construction. A new alignment of 59th Avenue, which will curve the street to the east, will establish the campus’ western border. In addition to creating a bridge over the conveyance channel, the school district will be responsible for paving 59th Avenue and South Mountain Avenue east to 55th Avenue. The school’s main entrance will face west toward 59th Avenue and a bus turn-in will be located on the school’s south side on South Mountain Avenue.
Name suggestions for the high school, including the reasoning behind the proposal, can be submitted in writing to Phoenix Union High School District, Community Relations, 4502 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85012 or e-mail email@example.com