Milestone celebrated at city’s new high school

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Members of the Maricopa Unified School District Board of Governors, along with other members of the community celebrate the placement of the final beam of Desert Sunrise High School on Thursday. [Brian Petersheim Jr.]

Maricopa’s second high school, named Desert Sunrise by the Maricopa Unified School District last month, reached another milestone Thursday as MUSD held a “beam signing” ceremony to commemorate the progress of the $37 million project. 

The ceremony offered the opportunity for MUSD officials, the construction team and city leaders to celebrate the fact that the walls of all the school buildings have been completed and the school is “topped out.” 

During the event, local dignitaries, district officials, students and those involved in the construction process signed a steel plaque that will be mounted in a prominent position in the school where it will remain for throughout the life of the school.

The project represents the first time the district has built a new high school since Maricopa High School opened in 1955. 

MUSD Superintendent Dr. Tracey Lopeman lauded the project and took the opportunity to highlight the efforts of everyone involved.

“I’m really proud of the work we’ve done as a team,” Lopeman said. “This is really the physical manifestation of district goal number four, community pride, right here. Dollars well spent, facilities that are going to be attractive and useful to so many students here in the city of Maricopa. I’m proud, I’m grateful, and I’m looking forward to the future. 

Lopeman explained the construction is scheduled for completion right around the end of the 2021-22 school year. 

“We know we’re going to be open on time, we just can’t pinpoint that actual completion date just yet,” she added. 

MUSD Governing Board member AnnaMarie Knorr said the new high school represents new opportunities for the district. 

“It means we can start implementing the programs we’ve wanted to for our students because now we’ve got the space” Knorr said. “It will definitely allow us to expand our CTE presence which I think is critical in this day and age. That will happen district wide.” 

Governing board member Jim Jordan said every time he comes out to the site, he gets a glimpse into the future. 

“I think we’ve got a lot of great future to look forward to,” Jordan said. “This is our first new school in a long time and we’re all incredibly excited about this project and what it means to the students and to the city.” 

An aerial view of Desert Sunrise High School. [Brian Petersheim Jr.]