Principal Terry Williams can already see the future Chandler High School in his mind’s eye.
Now surrounded by fenced dirt lots, in a year the 81-year-old school will have new buildings, an Olympicsize pool and athletic fields.
"When this is finished, it will probably be one of the most beautiful campuses around," Williams said. "The whole area will be like a big beautiful showcase."
In November 2002, voters approved a $60 million bond package, part of which paid for razing two blocks of ad jacent neighborhood homes and the expansion of the school from 40 acres to 60 acres.
On Wednesday, the Chandler Unified School District governing board approved the final cost of the school construction — $15.9 million.
The back of the campus will get a face lift as aging square buildings are torn down and replaced with buildings that, Williams said, reflect more of the elegance of the school’s tall, regal columns and original stone.
By next school year, there will be as many as 700 parking spaces to clear congestion. Students may be restricted from driving off campus, but will probably still be allowed to walk off campus for lunch. Night school also may be a future option as the school expands to its maximum — this year growing by 300 students to 3,050.
Assistant principal Steve Galas hopped on a golf cart Friday to tour the campus as trucks spread grass seed over fields that run north of Chandler Boulevard. The new fields will provide enough space for all teams to practice after school, and no longer late into the night on one shared field.
Most important, Galas said, the new campus should instill even more pride in the school.
"This should be the gem of Chandler," he said. "That’s my hope."