Desert Sunrise construction nears completion

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Desert-Sunrise-April 2022
The Desert Sunrise High School construction site as it looked Wednesday afternoon. [Brian Petersheim Jr.]

They’re down to the details.

Construction on the city’s second high school, Desert Sunrise, is nearing completion, according to Tim Goyette of CHASSE Building Team.

“The power is on, the lights are on, and my favorite part is, we’re actually painting the school logo on the gym, and that’s like the cherry on top,” he told the Maricopa Unified School District Governing Board on Wednesday night.

“We’re doing a lot of the finishing touches, what we call the punch list, where we go in and put the tape on the walls, do all the touch-up painting, tuning up the doors. We’re starting up electrical systems, fire alarm systems, trees are being planted – it’s just a really fun portion of the project. It’s just falling together.”

Over the next month, crews will finish construction in preparation for the arrival of furniture during the first week of June, Goyette said. With furniture moved in, the school will be ready to welcome its first students.

“We have to recognize that this project is on schedule and on budget,” board president Robert Downey said, acknowledging CHASSE’s efforts. “Anyone who has ever had anything done in their house, or tried to find a contractor, or tried to get materials and parts lately…this is just incredible what this team has done for this new high school, and we should recognize that and good job to you and all the other players.”

Goyette said much of the credit goes to district leadership.

“It has a lot to do with the careful planning of the administration of this district,” Goyette said. “When you look at what has happened the last couple of years, the cost of construction materials has gone up 30 percent. We really were very fortunate that we got a lot for the district’s money and a lot of that goes to the administration’s work, so you guys should give yourselves a hand.”

The $41 million school will open in July with freshman and sophomore classes. One class will be added per year until it reaches capacity in the 2024-25 school year.

VIDEO BY BRIAN PETERSHEIM JR.

Initial plans for the school, which had an original budget of $22 million, called for a classroom building and a gymnasium that included a cafeteria, multi-purpose area and restrooms. There was no administrative space allocated – that was to be set up in converted classrooms, then retrofitted when additional funding became available.

The football field was going to be exactly that: a grass surface where the football and soccer team would play, with no bleachers, lights, restrooms or concession area.

But thanks to the efforts of former state Rep. Bret Roberts of Maricopa, an additional $18.5 million was allocated to the budget by the state legislature last year, completely changing the scope of the school.

The new funding allowed for the first-phase construction of a student services building that would host administrative offices.

In addition, the school’s athletic teams, which will be known as the Golden Hawks, will have complete facilities including:

  • Natural grass football/soccer field
  • Scoreboard
  • Lights, bleachers, restrooms and concession area
  • Two competition-ready softball fields
  • Two competition-ready baseball fields
  • Rubberized track