After three years of meticulous planning, virtual meetings and dedicated construction efforts, the Student Commons building at Desert Sunrise High School is rapidly nearing completion.  

Maricopa Unified School District welcomed guests and community members this morning to preview the 28,000-square-foot building that will soon accommodate 1,200 students. 

Superintendent Dr. Tracey Lopeman, alongside representatives from CHASSE Construction and Principal Marlene Armstrong, expressed their gratitude for the project.  

“When we began planning three years ago, we said someday,” Lopeman said. “And we had to work like some day is going to be tomorrow. And tomorrow came.” 

The brand-new building is equipped with a student union, which will double as a library, where students can collaborate in groups or work on their individual studies.  

Armstrong emphasized the significance of this addition that will sit in the center of the 165,000-squarefoot campus.  

“It’s going to be the hub of the school,” she said. “In order to get anywhere else on campus, you have to go through this building.”  

Brilliantly illuminated by modern LED light fixtures, Desert Sunrise High School’s (DSHS) Student Commons dazzles guests during the May 23rd, 2023, Preview Party. The lighting adds a vibrant ambiance to the newly renovated space, enhancing the overall atmosphere for attendees. [Bryan Mordt]
Adjacent to the student union is an amphitheater platform, complete with indoor and shaded outdoor seating for musical practices, performances and school projects. 

And the “learning stairs” across the stage lead to a college and career center.  

“We really want our students to be focused on their future,” Armstrong said. “So, they really have to think about it every time they walk through this building.”  

From angling each wall to one degree, to designing historical murals, the CHASSE Construction Team ensured a well-executed outcome.  

“[We] have sleepless nights, but it all comes with a reward,” Project Manager Biby Carbonneau said. “This is a great space.” 

The team broke ground in July 2020, after five months of planning during the COVID pandemic. The Student Commons building is scheduled to open when teachers return to campus in mid-July.  

“I couldn’t be prouder,” Carbonneau said. “This is truly a one-of-a-kind high school for the city of Maricopa.”  

Related stories: Desert Sunrise High equipped with tools to meet needs of 21st-century students – InMaricopa 

View a gallery of the event by InMaricopa’s Bryan Mordt below: