By Roland Murphy for Arizona Builder’s Exchange
Agua Fria Union High School District – which services students in the West Valley, including Goodyear, Buckeye, Glendale, Avondale and Litchfield Park – has two funding sources it is trying to secure to build a new 200KSF high school in the district, as well as provide for technology upgrades, additional construction and ongoing maintenance at its four existing schools.
In January, the district applied to the state School Facilities Board for approximately $33M. The request earned conceptual approval from the board, which then presented it to the Legislature for consideration. The district expects to learn the application’s outcome when the board meets in January of next year.
The district has also presented a $70M bond issue for voters to consider in next month’s elections. If approved, $10M would go toward land acquisition, $40M-$50M for construction projects – including the new school – and $10M for district-wide technology upgrades.
AFUHSD has experienced 18 consecutive years of attendance growth. In the 2013-14 school year 7,262 students were served by the district’s four campuses. The current enrollment stands at 7,630, according to Travis Zander, the district’s executive director of finance.
The School Facilities Board’s stated capacity threshold for the district’s existing facilities is 7,500. In the next 10 years, the district’s enrollment is expected to hit 10,800.
In the district’s 2013-14 annual report, the most recent currently available, it was noted Arizona had not funded new school construction in the preceding five years. Zander said funding had been granted last year for one or two new elementary school projects in the state.
No location for the new school has yet been identified, as funding must be secured before land can be acquired. Generally, Zander said, the northern half of the district has experienced greater growth, and relieving pressure in that section would be the most logical consideration.
Earlier this year, DLR Group was selected by bid as the district’s architectural firm. No other project planning work has yet been begun.