Phoenix Elementary School Tops Out Big Expansion

By Eric Althoff

CHANDLER, Ariz.—Architect Orcutt | Winslow and general contractor McCarthy Building Companies have reached the topping-out stage at Galveston Elementary School, part of the Chandler Unified School District. Personnel from the district and construction team were on hand for this goalpost moment, where students, staff and invited guests signed a ceremonial beam, which was then hoisted into place atop the phase I construction of the $32-million, 81,000-square-foot expansion.

Phase I entails a 53,000-square-foot classroom building, 21,000-square-foot gymnasium facility and a 7,000-square-foot administration building. The classroom building entails 31 classrooms, each of which will include large-format TVs, as well as grade-appropriate book collections in lieu of a centralized library or media center, and an amphitheater. The building will also be home to a cafeteria—with doors that can roll up during optimal weather for indoor-outdoor dining—and a multipurpose room that can be utilized for various public events.

The buildout commenced in September, and is being constructed on top of Galveston Elementary’s former playground. The new buildings will have card reader access as an added security measure.

The second phase of work, due to commence this fall, entails tearing down the original school building from 1963 and fashioning new playgrounds and athletic fields. Phase II is due for completion in the spring of 2025. The school will then be able to educate 750 students, up from the current complement of around 400 in grades K-6.

At the topping-out ceremony, CUSD Superintendent Frank Narducci called Galveston Elementary a “very special community,” and said the newer buildings will make it even stronger.

“For families and the staff, this school has been an anchor in the neighborhood and city for decades, so this rebuild marks a huge milestone in the school’s history,” Narducci said. “This rebuild will be state-of-the-art and feature learning spaces that allow students and staff to work and learn collaboratively and independently.”

“There has been much to celebrate at Galveston Elementary this year,” added Andrea Ramos, McCarthy Southwest Education Group project director for the construction work. “Not only did the school recently receive an ‘A Grade’ rating, but the campus renovation project marked the major construction milestone of topping out with students, faculty and staff leaving their handprints and names on the final beam, which will forever be part of the Galveston Elementary campus.”

“It has been an absolute honor to work on the Reimagined Galveston Elementary School design project,” said Saravanan Bala, Orcutt | Winslow managing partner. “The District’s vision [shaped] this innovative, community-service focused replacement school.”

Orcutt | Winslow and McCarthy both operate from local offices in Phoenix.

“We couldn’t be prouder to be helping transform the campus into a 21st century learning facility and positively impacting students’ lives for decades to come,” said Ramos.