Parents and kids were invited Saturday to check out the inside of Pima Unified School District's brand-new K-2 school.
PUSD Superintendent Sean Rickert and Pima Elementary Principal Steve Yoder participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony along with several school board members, Graham County Schools Superintendent Donna McGaughey, Graham County Supervisor John Howard, Bill DeArmond from the Arizona Schools Facilities Board and representatives from Emc2, which designed the building.
The school was built to accommodate a burgeoning student population, Rickert said. The district is growing so much, it's adding two teachers a year and the district is committed to keeping class sizes small.
In the past five years, the district has seen a 19% increase in enrollment, he said.
The 13-classroom, 16,000 square foot building will accommodate four classrooms for each grade level, a resource room for special education students, a teacher workroom and restrooms. The office will remain in the current elementary school building.
The $4.2 million project was paid for with funds from the Schools Facilities Board, capital reserve funds saved up by the district and a loan the district will pay back over a 10-year period, Rickert said.
Thanks to federal COVID-19 relief funds, Rickert said the district will now be able to take roughly $300,000 originally intended for furnishings and put it toward other projects, including dining hall space and a new high school.
Over the summer, Rickert said a new kindergarten playground will be created next to the new school.
High school and college students have also been hired to move all third and fourth grade classrooms into spaces currently occupied by fifth and sixth graders, a few high school classrooms will be moved to the K-1 areas and special ed, fifth and sixth grade classrooms will be moved into the spaces now being used by second through fourth graders.