Tempe schools considering renovation program

By Doug Snover

Most of the elementary and middle schools operated by the Tempe Elementary School District in the Kyrene Corridor are targeted for major renovations or even replacement under an ambitious Long-Range Facilities Plan nearing completion.

The plan could spur a multi-million-dollar bond election by the district in November, school officials have told the Tempe School District No. 3 Governing Board.

The Board could review recommendations from the two-year study and the bond election proposal in April.

Most of the schools operated by the Tempe District were built in the 1950s, 1960s or 1970s, Susan Holt Maas, the district’s executive director of exceptional customer interior service, told Governing Board members recently.

With an average age of 30 years, the facilities are outmoded in terms of modern amenities and heating and air-conditioning equipment, she said.

The Tempe district operates 27 schools and maintenance facilities, according to a summary of the study.  Of those, 18 are targeted for “major renovation or replacement.”

Maas told board members major renovations could require “gutting” some of the buildings, rebuilding classrooms, adding multi-purpose rooms, and installing energy efficient heating and cooling equipment.

Among the schools in the 85283 zip code targeted for such work are:

 Aguilar School, 5800 S. Forest Ave.

 Frank School, 8409 S.Avenida del Yaqui

 Fuller School, 1975 E. Cornell Drive

 Getz School, 625 W. Cornell Drive and

 Wood School, 727 W. Cornell Drive

All are south of Baseline Road between Interstate 10 and Loop 101.

The facilities upgrades follow the Tempe district’s philosophy of providing small, safe, neighborhood schools with small class size, Maas said. 

The district is trying to eliminate portable classrooms as part of the major upgrades, she noted.

The size of a school impacts students’ achievement and behavior, the report claims.

The report comes at a time when the Tempe Schools Governing Board is interviewing candidates for superintendent.  The board’s next regular meeting will be at 7 p.m. April 6 in the Sanchez Administration Center, 3205 S. Rural Road.