The Higley Unified School District has identified property that could accommodate a third district high school — but Gilbert already has plans for the land.
Fred Stone, the district’s business manager, said the only “viable” land is Chandler Heights Basin at Higley and Queen Creek roads.
Gilbert owns the property and plans to develop it into a park. There are no plans to sell it.
“They are not getting that land,” said town spokesman Greg Svelund. “Our plans for (a park) have not changed for a long time.”
High school sites require roughly 50 acres, whereas, elementary sites require about 12 acres. The Chandler Heights Basin is 300 acres and the town has had plans to develop it into a park for more than a decade.
Stone explained to the governing board during a meeting in April that he wasn’t sure if a school could be built there.
“I don’t know what kind of agreements could be reached between (Higley district and Gilbert),” he said. “That is really the only space I see that is available for a 50-acre high school site.”
He also informed the board the district’s two high schools are designed to accommodate 1,700 students each. Without a third high school — it could push the growth at each campus to 2,300, he said.
District and town officials said they have not talked to each other about building a school on the site.
Higley governing board president Kim Anderson said she thinks the district will eventually need a third high school — but its construction is not definite.
“I am concerned about land availability for a high school because it is all taken,” she said. “It would be irresponsible for us to ignore the situation, so we are looking and thinking and talking and planning. It’s not like we are dying on the vine.”
As far as the Chandler Heights Basin property goes, Anderson said she has “no idea” if the district will have conversations with the town.
“I do not even have an opinion on that,” she said. “It’s too early.”