new high school Chandler Unified Rendering

This rendering shows one of the different lay-outs being discussed for the campus of the new high school Chandler Unified is building in Gilbert and expects to open in two years.

The Chandler Unified School District released its first design plans for a new high school it intends to build near Gilbert and Brooks Farm roads in Gilbert. 

The three designs display different configurations of a campus intended to be about 272,000-square-feet. 

All the schematics include a football stadium, performing arts center, gymnasium and athletic fields. 

The main difference between the three designs involves the location of 1,600 parking spaces. One design has parking lots built on the outer edges of campus, while the other two scatter spaces across the school. 

Each design has its respective pros and cons, based on feedback collected by the district. 

One has most of its parking spaces far away from the athletic fields. Another would require barriers to the staff parking lot. Two designs don’t allow southbound access to the football stadium off of Gilbert Road. 

Community input helped guide the district in drafting the designs; taking into consideration elements like traffic flow, visitor access and water retention. 

The designs have been presented to the school board to review, though the district must also submit its plans to the city for approval. 

The district aims to start construction in February and have the school open by July 2021. The total cost of construction is estimated to be about $70 million.

Several community members expressed concerns about traffic and congestion back in July, when the governing board approved spending $25 million to buy property for the new school. 

The construction site is surrounded by subdivisions, so some residents worried about having an influx of teenage drivers cutting through their neighborhoods.

District officials have said CUSD has limited options for where it could build another school in Chandler and the site selected was one of the few where its owners were willing to sell. 

Lana Berry, the district’s chief financial officers, told the school board in July that CUSD was projected to add 3,000 students over the next decade. Therefore, a new high school will be necessary to prevent class sizes from growing. 

“That has not been our goal,” Berry said back in July. “Our goal has been to keep our teacher ratios low.”

While other school districts have considered closing schools, Chandler’s growing populations has prompted CUSD to build several new schools in recent years.

The district’s newest high school, Casteel High School, only opened a few years ago and had its first graduating class this year.