EDUCATION Campus opening ushers in new era for Arizona College Prep
ARIZONA COLLEGE PREP HIGH SCHOOL
E. QUEEN CREEK RD. The new school is built to have a smaller-campus feel than other Chandler USD high schools. The school has a 2-square mile boundary, but any student can attend there through open enrollment.
$84M TOTAL COST
306,818 SQ. FT.
BY ALEXA D’ANGELO
the halls of the new facility located at Gilbert and Brooks Farm roads in Chandler this school year. “We will maintain all the sta and students from the other campus and with them, we will keep the culture that is so important to ACP,” he said. “It’s all about the connections students make here. We are tight- knit and want to make sure we do everything we can to ensure kids are valued as individuals and get to the road they want to continue on after The new high school is 306,818 square feet, according to district ocials, and construction—which was still ongoing in early July—will be largely completed by the time the school opens to students July 21. high school.” Newfacility
In 2007, the rst iteration of what is now Arizona College Prep High School opened at Hamilton High School as a school within a school designed to give students an alternative to Chan- dler USD’s larger high schools with 3,000-4,000 students on a campus. The students and sta moved into their own space—the old Erie Elemen- tary School—in 2012 and got renamed Arizona College Prep-Erie. There, the students and sta stayed for nearly 10 years without ballelds for students and without space to grow the student body, school ocials said. July 21 marks the start of the school year and the opening of Arizona Col- lege Prep High School—the district’s newest campus—which will house the Arizona College Prep students and sta in their rst state-of-the-art high
E. OCOTILLO RD.
7 SPORTS SPACES
E. BROOKS FARM RD.
E. CHANDLER HEIGHTS RD.
SOURCE: CHANDLER USDCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER
roads and Ocotillo and Chandler Heights roads is set for the school, but Bickes said students from anywhere in the district, which includes portions of Gilbert, can attend through the district’s open enrollment policy. “We oer the full range of honors and [Advanced Placement] classes in addition to regular classes and special education classes,” Bickes said. “Our aspirations are to build a personalized high school experience to meet the needs of each individual student.” The school sees 99% of students matriculate to a college or university. Former Superintendent Camille Casteel said it was an honor for this campus to be the last built in her 25-year tenure as superintendent before she ocially retired in July. “Teachers moved in [in late June], and the excitement at the campus is palpable,” she said. “It’s a great place for families and another wonderful option for our students.” Bickes said the full-service facility is creating as much excitement among students as it is sta. “I watched a baseball practice here the other day, and I don’t know who
was more excited, the students or the coach,” he said. “We had sports teams before, but they always practiced somewhere else.” School pride Bickes said the new campus will be heavily inuenced by the student body, just like at the previous campus. He said he believes it is important to the ACP community that students have an inuence in the way things are done. “Seniors run the rst day of school,” Bickes said. “They create a vision for what they want the school year to look like and set the tone that rst day. Their motto, they decided for the year, is ‘2022: The start of something new.’ I think kids talking to kids can be more impactful sometimes than adults talking to kids. This is their school, and the atmosphere is really up to them.” Bickes said even with the opening of the larger campus, Arizona College Prep High School will not lose the quality that makes it unique. “We all say it’s a family, and we want to be that family at this new campus, too,” he said. E. RIGGS RD.
MAP NOT TO SCALE N
Bickes said the school’s gymwill not be ready as the year begins. “The facility is beauti- ful,” he said. “It’s really a new beginning for ACP.” The facility oers seven sports spaces and seven buildings in addition to a gym, a cafeteria and a
school facility, the school’s principal, Robert Bickes, said. The $84 million bond- funded facility is outtted with a football eld; baseball and softball elds; a soccer eld; classroom buildings; and room for electives, such as culinary arts, orchestra and choir.
“IT’S ALL ABOUT THE CONNECTIONS STUDENTS MAKE HERE.” ROBERT BICKES, PRINCIPAL
bookstore. Students at this campus, in keeping with ACP tradition, will con- tinue to wear uniforms—the only high school in the district that requires it. Arizona College Prep High School will, for the rst time in its history, have attendance boundaries with the new campus. A 2-square-mile bound- ary between Cooper and Lindsay
“The demand continued to grow as we went on,” Bickes said. “The rst graduating class had eight seniors. Eventually around 800 students were interested in the campus, and it kept growing.” Bickes said he anticipates about 1,200 students will walk through
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