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Kyrene Board OKs K-8 Campus Plan

Credit: Kimberly Carrillo/Ahwatukee Foothills News

By Paul Maryniak for Ahwatukee Foothills News

Kyrene School District is on its way toward its first pre-K-8 campus after the governing board last week approved $6.2M to expand the Kyrene Traditional Academy-Sureno Campus in Chandler.

The board’s 4-1 vote came after Superintendent Jan Vesely urged it to begin “designing schools of the future” and reminded it that “in an environment of school choice, Kyrene needs to think forward and not static.”

Besides determining the specific construction work that will be covered by the $6.2M, the board also will still have to approve another $6M or so to complete the campus’ transformation.

Board President John King and the other three board members who approved the project called their vote an important step toward fulfilling a promise to KTA parents and toward better positioning the district in the increasingly more competitive push for higher student enrollment.

The lone vote against the project was cast by Michelle Fahy, who said she was not convinced the data supported using bond money that could be used for other aging schools in the district.

Fahy, who took office in January, last month questioned using Sureno at all. She suggested that Kyrene could buy land owned by Tempe Union High School District, where she is employed as an administrator, for a new pre-K-8 school.

Tempe Union is pondering the sale of a 49-acre parcel at Kyrene Road and the Loop 202 Santan Freeway in Chandler.

But board members Bernadette Coggins and Kristin Middleton disputed Fahy’s assertion, and the other new board member, Michael Myrick, praised KTA Principal Marianne Lescher for “producing results in a building that’s 30 years old.”

Middleton and Coggins said the board had devoted enough study to the plan and that it was time to implement it.

The board has been sifting through a variety of options for converting the Sureno campus, including building a brand-new campus for nearly $20M.

Confronting the reality that a number of the district’s schools are 30 years old or older, the board opted for a slower construction pace and somewhat fewer enhancements.

The district’s architectural consultant had noted that while the campus could get a new gym and multipurpose room by fall and an addition and playfields within roughly 16 months, the campus would still need technology and security updates.

Read more at Ahwatukee Foothills News.

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