After facing an overflow of students, the Tolleson Union High School District (TUHSD) began to envision the build-out of its next school. And when it sought out a team to design and build it, ADM Group and Chasse Building Team emerged as the perfect partners.
Phase one of West Point High School (WPHS), which broke ground in September of last year, was unveiled at a ceremonial ribbon cutting on July 30 — a day before the first day of school. TUHSD staff, community dignitaries and ADM Group and Chasse Building Team officials gathered at the WPHS Innovation Center to kick off the academic year.
“Sometimes in life … things just go your way, and that happened out here. Every time we needed something to happen here, it happened,” said Tim Goyette, Chasse Building Team project director. “This is truly a blessed place. It’s surreal to be here less than a year later, sitting here going, ‘Man, this place is really open for business.’”
Dubbed “Home of the Dragons,” the 190,000-square-foot campus, which cost $108 million and was funded through a voter-approved bond and the Arizona School Facilities Board, features instructional space and athletic and common areas for freshmen and sophomores, including an innovation center, a university-style cafeteria, a gymnasium and a central, hub-like space called “The Quad.”
According to TUHSD Superintendent Nora Gutierrez, the community was involved in the building process from the get-go.
“Students, parents, community members, staff members and even students from our partner districts — our eighth-graders who are now freshmen here — had a chance to weigh in on the name of the school, the colors and the mascot via online surveys and QR codes on their mobile devices,” Gutierrez said. “This is truly a community effort.”
Through a partnership with Luke Air Force Base, Gutierrez said students will be exposed to a challenging, STEAM-based (science, technology, engineering, arts, math) curriculum that will allow them to build connections in their communities.
“The academy will allow students to apply their classroom learning to real-world environments and challenge themselves through community involvement. Our partnership with Luke Air Force Base will connect students to experts in their fields,” she said.
Jenifer Weskalnies, ADM Group director of architecture, said her team worked directly with district staff to identify design goals that complemented that curriculum.
“The buildings feature long-lasting, durable materials such as (masonry), metal panels and the iconic wing design to honor the partnership that we have with Luke Air Force Base. The classrooms flanking us on both sides feature the technology, innovation and flexibility that will be the focus of this high school’s curriculum,” Weskalnies said.
In regard to what’s next, the campus will add a football field and a performing arts center after phase two.
“When this project is completed, it’ll be 310,000 square feet, and they’ll be done in May of 2020,” said Ben Barcon, ADM Group principal.
“This is a feat that we all thought in the beginning could never be done, but we were up for the challenge and lo and behold you see here, phase one.”