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School named after former ASU football star Pat Tillman to be rebuilt

(Balsz School District rendering)

PHOENIX — The Phoenix school named after former Arizona State University football star Pat Tillman is getting a makeover.

Pat Tillman Middle School will be rebuilt to have more features pertaining to Tillman’s legacy, according to a press release.

The school near 44th Street and McDowell Road will remain open during the 2019-20 school year and is expected to be completed by the start of the following school year, the release said.

“Our vision for Pat Tillman Middle School is to create the finest learning environment in the Valley, one that truly honors the Tillman legacy,” Balsz School District Superintendent Jeffrey Smith said in the release. “Pat embodied everything it is that we want to instill in our students – bravery, patriotism, commitment, selflessness – and these fundamentals will very much be a part of the core culture at Pat Tillman Middle School.”

Tillman was a standout linebacker on ASU’s football team and spent four seasons with the Arizona Cardinals before joining the Army in 2002 following the 9/11 attacks.

He was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan in 2004, the first pro football player killed in the line of duty since 1970.

Tillman’s family gave the Balsz School District permission to use his name in February 2018.

A groundbreaking ceremony will be held at the school for children grades 6-8 on Aug. 20 at 8:30 a.m.

Tillman’s brother, Kevin, and Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego are expected to attend, according to the release.

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