By SCN Staff
GILBERT, Ariz.—Construction is now complete on the new $23 million Robert J C Rice Elementary School in southwest Gilbert.
The new K-6 school—which can accommodate 800 students— has opened for the 2020-21 school year. The 93,000-square-foot building features a gym/multipurpose room, media center, computer lab learning center, classrooms, and administration space.
The new elementary school campus was built on an accelerated seven-month schedule on Ocotillo Road between Lindsay Road and Val Vista Drive near several new home communities and will help alleviate overcrowding at nearby elementary schools.
“This project had one of the most accelerated timelines for a new build school project that we’ve completed to date—just seven months— and we are proud to have completed it successfully, despite the turbulent times,” said Andrea Ramos, project director for McCarthy Building Companies, in a statement.
HDA Architects Inc. served as the architect. Major subcontractors included Sun Valley Masonry, Procon Concrete, R&N Electric, Irontree, and Midstate Mechanical.
The school has numerous energy-saving features such as:
- An air-cooled central plant;
- An energy Management system that allows HVAC and lighting to be controlled remotely via the internet;
- Sky lighting in hallways to eliminate use of lights, and;
- Ground and polished concrete floors in hallways and bathrooms, which are easier and less expensive to maintain.
“We are very proud to have been part of the team creating this special educational facility for the Chandler Unified School District community,” said HAD Architects Principal Bruce Scott.
“I appreciate the level of effort provided by our team, as well as McCarthy and district representatives, to meet the aggressive design and construction schedule especially during these challenging times.”
The school was named after long-time CUSD governing board member Robert Rice, who began his career as an officer in the U.S. Air Force and spent more than two decades working for Intel in senior management roles. He is currently a member of the Arizona School Facilities Board.
Students who attended Weinberg Elementary last year—which has been turned into a school for gifted students beginning with the 2020/21 school year—will attend the new Robert J C Rice School. Like Weinberg, the school will offer both the Chandler Traditional Academies (CTA) education model as well as “classic” education. Parents will have a choice on the type of instruction their child will receive.
“We are fortunate to have the financial support of our community,” said CUSD Superintendent Camille Casteel, in a statement.
“Passage of a $290 million bond election in 2019 provided the funding to build Rice Elementary which will serve a fast-growing area of our community. We needed to fast track Rice Elementary to open for the start of the 2020-2021 school year and once again McCarthy was up to the challenge.”
The Chandler Unified School District used school bond funds approved in the 2019 election by voters to build the school.