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Queen Creek school district building new school in fast-growing area

Queen Creek Unified School District's new elementary school will be built on 15 acres. It will serve up to 950 students in pre-K through fifth grade. (Courtesy of the Queen Creek Unified School District)

PHOENIX — Construction is underway for a new elementary school in one of the fastest growing school districts in the Valley.

The new school, which hasn’t been given a name, is being built on 15 acres near Ellsworth and Ray roads in Mesa. It’s in the northern part of the Queen Creek Unified School District’s boundaries.

The 89,000-square-foot school will serve up to 950 students in pre-K through fifth grade and employ about 70 certified and classified employees.

Jim Lamb, director of bond projects and construction for the Queen Creek Unified School District, said the school will sit on one of the fastest-growing areas in the country. It’s located in Cadence at Gateway and across the street from Eastmark – two master-planned communities in the East Valley.

“The school is really being built to accommodate that hypergrowth in the area,” Lamb said.

Construction for the school will cost $20.5 million, which will be paid for with funds from the Arizona Schools Facilities Board and a voter-approved bond.

The school will consist of two single-story buildings and two two-story buildings. The buildings will surround a central courtyard that will help extend learning and gathering opportunities to the outdoors.

Lamb said the school’s curriculum will focus on science, technology, engineering, arts and math – also known as STEAM.

“We’ve really engineered the school not only to have STEAM curriculum in the classrooms, but we also have a lot of outdoor spaces so you can take that STEAM learning outside to a courtyard and a bunch of different learning areas,” he said.

Lamb added students will also have access to a smart lab for technology-based and hands-on programs.

In addition, the school will have a multi-purpose gym and performance space, a common area that doubles as the cafeteria, two music rooms, a media center, administrative offices, playgrounds and athletics fields.

“This school will be a great addition to our high-achieving district, especially for the families in the northern part of our boundaries,” QCUSD Superintendent Perry Berry said. “It will be a state-of-the-art facility that offers many amenities including a mastery learning model, leadership opportunities and a STEAM focus.”

The school is set to open July 2019. During that same time, the district will open Eastmark High School less than a mile down the road. The high school, which is being built on 60 acres, will initially serve ninth- and 10th-graders and gradually add other grades.

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