Mayor Eric Orsborn

Mayor Eric Orsborn and former mayor Jackie Meck stand among Liberty Elementary teachers to cut the ribbon to celebrate the opening of the newly renovated school.

Liberty Elementary School District No. 25 officials, teachers, students, parents and the Buckeye community celebrated the newly renovated Liberty Elementary School during a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Oct. 14. 

Buckeye Mayor Eric Orsborn, city councilmembers, Liberty teachers, as well as representatives with the DLR Group and Chasse Building Team all stood at the front of the ceremony to cut the ribbon. 

“We are so grateful to our community for supporting the bond election that made this school construction possible. The new modernized buildings provide our children safe, inspiring and collaborative spaces for learning,” Superintendent Dr. Lori Shough said. In attendance were former Liberty Elementary School teachers, students, parents and board members, superintendent and principal. The former Eagles were honored during the ceremony, and each wore a button or sticker to be recognized amongst the crowd.  

“Our staff and students are beyond thrilled to welcome back past generations and the greater Buckeye community to join us in celebrating the new and remodeled portions of Liberty Elementary. The school has been a long-standing point of pride within Buckeye, and we are committed to ensuring it continues to be a reminder of Buckeye’s rich history as the community continues to experience exponential growth,” Liberty Elementary School Principal Jennifer Gray said.

During the ceremony, Shough commended the school board for its dedication to the project, as well as the community for voting to make the rebuild happen. 

“These board members really prioritized the importance of the rebuild for Liberty with their ability to move forward with a bond election to fund the project, as well as approving the construction for this school. We’re very thankful for their work,” Shough said. 

Liberty Elementary School is the original and namesake school of Liberty Elementary School District dating from 1910, with many original buildings and features still present.

Liberty Elementary has evolved its agriculture curriculum into a 21st century agriscience signature program. The robust nature of the educational offerings at the school has attracted third and fourth generations of local students and out-of-boundary next-generation students.

With the demolition of existing buildings, the school had the opportunity to keep one of the building structures to incorporate a future barn for agriscience needs. 

The inside finishes and systems had little life left, but the structure was in good enough condition to transform what used to be a classroom into an open structure for the agriscience program. 

“It’s incredible. I can’t imagine doing anything else in my career that will be so rewarding. It is the pinnacle of what I could have ever dreamed or asked for,” Gray said.

DLR Group’s design blends inside and outside agricultural spaces with the use of glazing, garage doors, easy access and exterior canopies. The design also incorporates flexible spaces that can adapt as the program evolves. Liberty Elementary has the capacity to serve 540 students.

“The school’s agriscience program has tremendous opportunity for growth and expansion. DLR Group’s design incorporates durable finishes, operable walls and doors, and a robust infrastructure backbone to allow the program to evolve to meet the educational needs of future generations,” said Katrina Leach, DLR Group senior associate.

Additionally, throughout the campus are touches of the original Liberty Elementary School building, including the eagle along the wall of the multipurpose room.

The eagle was part of the original gym floor. The contractor salvaged the logo and mounted it on the wall to honor the past.

The 1910 schoolhouse also stands at the forefront of the campus, which remains the flagship of the Liberty Elementary School District. 

Up until the COVID-19 closure, the 1910 schoolhouse was the oldest operating schoolhouse in Arizona. 

The schoolhouse will still be utilized as a space for extracurricular activities and a hub for community meetings. 

Chasse Building Team led construction on the renovation, which was financed through a voter-approved bond election in November 2019 and Arizona School Facility Board funds.

“When we were notified that LESD was going to entrust us with the rebuild of the Liberty Elementary School, we were thrilled for the opportunity to bring our team to this unique and historic campus. Our commitment was to construct the buildings in a manner that gave life to the agriscience curriculum and vision of the District and DLR Group,” said Barry Chasse, Chasse Building Team owner.

 “This school is beautiful and functional. Everything has a purpose — from the roll-up garage doors to the exterior planter beds. We were even able to salvage an existing building which will now be utilized as an agricultural shade structure. We are looking forward to seeing the impact this school has on the students and community of the Liberty Elementary School District.”