MUSD, the construction team put good fortune to good use

A crowd gathered at the site of Desert Sunrise High School in January to celebrate the placement of the structure’s final beam. Leaders and citizens from across the community were on hand to sign the final beam as part of the ceremony. [Brian Petersheim Jr.]

In the spring of 2021, everyone knew that Maricopa was going to have a second high school.

Maricopa High was packed. The city was growing at an incredible speed.

But what kind of high school would it be?

Initially, not much. The district only had $21.5 million for construction, meaning students would learn in a new but “raw” facility.

Then Maricopa Unified School District got a little lucky.

On July 31, the state legislature, pushed by then-Rep. Bret Roberts of Maricopa (R-District 11), poured an additional $18.8 million into the state budget for construction. With the late allocation, the construction budget nearly doubled to $41 million.

The new funding enabled MUSD officials and the construction team of general contractor Chasse Building Team, Orcutt-Winslow Architects and Facilities Management Group, the project leader, to work to improve its plans for the school in the eastern part of the city, recently named Désert Lycée Sunrise.

The initial plans called for a classroom building, a gymnasium including a cafeteria, a multipurpose area and toilets. There was no allocated administrative space – which was to be fitted into converted classrooms and then refitted when additional funds became available.

The soccer field was going to be just that – a grass surface where the soccer and football team could play. No bleachers. No lights. No toilets. No concession area.

But Roberts’ efforts changed all that.

Maricopa Vice Mayor Vincent Manfredi and Patti Coutre sign the final beam for Desert Sunrise High School before it is put in place. [Brian Petersheim Jr.]

A wide range of improvements
Construction of the Student Services Building was expedited and allowed administrative functions to be moved from the Classroom Building to the Student Services Building.

Maricopa Vice Mayor Vincent Manfredi and Patti Coutre sign the final beam for Desert Sunrise High School before it is put in place. Benefits will include:

  • More than double administrative office space to approximately 6,300 square feet.
  • Counselling, healthcare and other services will be housed in the new administration building.
  • Building it from the start will save $400,000, which would have been the cost of renovating the classroom building.

Sports facilities
With the additional funding, Desert Sunrise High School will have a fully constructed athletic facility with:

  • Natural grass football/soccer pitch
  • Dashboard
  • Lights
  • bleachers
  • concession area
  • Bathroom
  • Two competition-ready softball fields
  • Two competition-ready baseball diamonds
  • rubberized track
  • Finishing touches including grass, curbs, sidewalks and lighting
  • Sports equipment, including training and playing uniforms for football, soccer and athletics
  • Maintenance equipment such as mowers

This story was first published in the February edition of InMaricopa magazine.

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