Construction to completely rebuild the Hopi Elementary School campus is moving right along schedule and shouldn’t interfere with classes beginning on August 7, according to school officials.
As of now, the academic and administration buildings, which were rebuilt on the existing lot, will be ready at the start of the school year. The full renovation project will be complete in January 2019.
“I think the most important part of the construction, and what will be beneficial for everyone, is the new, clean, up-to-date facilities,” said Kyle Christensen, with the Hopi PTA. “Not only the advanced technology that this new building can support, but really simple things, like clean, modern bathrooms for the kids. That kind of environment helps encourage respect.”
Work on the new multi-purpose building didn’t start until after school was out in May and the existing buildings were razed to clear space for it. The building, which will house the gym, cafeteria and music rooms, will open in January. The area around the building will be used as field space.
“The construction will affect us only slightly, we will be utilizing the library space as the cafeteria until the third building is completed,” said Tamara Jagodzinski, principal at Hopi. “The librarian will be bringing books to the classroom and we will be utilizing indoor space for P.E. All the adjustments we will need to make will be temporary.”
“It will definitely be noticeable at the beginning of the school year,” said Christensen. “On the first day of school we will have additional volunteers to guide kids to their classrooms and around the school. It will be so exciting for the kids to explore and discover. There will be an additional buzz on the first day for sure!”
The project got underway last fall after many debates and the passing of a $228 million bond, approved in November 2017, at a Scottsdale Unified School District Governing Board meeting.
CORE Construction took on the project and its two phases, which have been running concurrently since the project started.
Dennis Roehler, who is the director of facilities in the Building Services Department, said that the plan from the beginning was the rebuild of the entire campus, which opened in 1960.
“The school has been open for a lot of the construction,” Roehler said. “But it has gone pretty smoothly.”
Phase 1 included the Administration building, the classroom building and playgrounds. Phase 2 includes the Gymnasium Building, the play field and the main parking lot.
“We will have all three playground areas as well as the basketball courts to start the school year but the field will not be complete until January,” Jagodzinski said.
Jagodzinski is also looking forward to the new technology that will be in the classrooms as well as the collaborative spaces available for each grade level.
“I am excited about the opportunities to showcase student work in the hallways of the classroom building,” said Jagodzinski. “When the multi-purpose building is complete, we’ll be looking forward to the separate gym and cafeteria spaces.”
The new layout will also provide space for new outdoor learning opportunities for the students.
“There are going to be some beautiful gardens put in,” Jagodzinski said. “We have a beautiful new outdoor amphitheater that will be utilized for many of the activities that take place at Hopi and I’m sure the students will love the new playgrounds!”
“It’s an exciting time to grow and move in to our new building for the students, teachers, and even parents,” said Christensen. “The people who make Hopi what it is.”
Residents had a lot of questions when the construction project for Hopi was originally announced, but two in particular were being asked quite often.
One was about the fate of the colorful tiles that lined the old Hopi campus hallways, which showed off the names of many former students. Thankfully, many of those tiles are safe and sound. They were removed prior to the demolition, and the plan is to hang them in the new buildings. There isn’t a set location yet, but there is a restoration committee that will be working with the school to incorporate the tiles and other historical pieces into the new campus.
The other popular questions concerned the traffic flow on Lafayette Boulevard, as the street led directly to the parking and drop-off areas at the school. The road is one of the busiest in the neighborhood, and a long line of cars can tend to clog up the lanes each morning during the start of school.
Finding a solution to this problem was important to area residents, and the issue was considered in the construction of the new building. When the entire school is completed this coming January, there will be two separate drop-off and pick-up points for drivers. The main zone will have large cueing lanes in order to remove the traffic from Lafayette.