New Pima High School by 2025
PIMA – Pima Unified School District Superintendent Sean Rickert said the time has come to build a new high school.
Rickert made a presentation to the Pima City Council on Tuesday, explaining that the district received $22.3 million from the Arizona School Facilities Board for the construction.
“It will be built to accommodate 500 students when it opens. At that time, we expect our enrollment to be around 425,” Rickert said, “but we also anticipate that we will design it with a maximum enrollment of around 600 students once it is fully built. “
He added that the district will get a loan of about $4.4 million for construction that is not covered by the School Facilities Commission, such as sports fields and parking lots. And the district is pursuing all available grant opportunities for additional funds.
“We don’t plan to go out for a bond at this time,” Rickert said. “I spent the last district working to keep school-related property taxes in Pima as low as possible. I know issuing a bond is how people typically build schools, but I also know that given the limited valuation in Pima, issuing a bond would have a huge impact on the property tax rate. If it’s not necessary, we’re not going to do it.
The district selected architectural firm SPS Plus to design the school and will present that recommendation to the school board for final approval on Thursday. Additionally, Rickert said the district is awaiting an appraisal of 40 acres of land selected for the school, near U.S. Highway 70 at the corner of Ash Creek and Center Street, with acquisition expected in mid- september.
The additional space will allow the secondary school to expand vocational and technical education programs, such as the recently launched aviation program and add agriculture courses, as well as develop more STEM programs ( science, technology, engineering and mathematics).
Rickert said the new high school is expected to be open to students by the 2025-2026 school year.