Where once there was a dairy farm, Chandler Unified School District’s newest high school will open in the fall. So now the district has to decide what to do with two houses from the previous landowners that remain on the property.
In a Monday study session, the Chandler governing board heard ideas for how to use the houses located on the northwest part of the property at 1919 E. Queen Creek Road in Gilbert — the future home of Perry High School.
The main house, with 3,500 square feet, could be used as a student union that would house a student store and snack bar, Internet area, library and lounge as well as office, conference and storage space.
The smaller house, with 1,200 square feet, could be used for a program for special-education students ages 18 to 22, using the kitchen and laundry facilities to learn household skills.
“The whole idea I like is that kids with disabilities can give back, learn and be part of the school,” said Diane Bruening, director of pupil personnel.
Bruening said the students could also learn gardening, and those with milder disabilities can learn retail, food handling, and library clerk responsibilities in the student union, which would also help with social integration.
“We want it to be our home for different types of kids to work together,” said Perry principal Dan Serrano.
The cost of making changes to the houses, including renovations, adding a six-foot security wall, and making the buildings accessible to the disabled, is estimated at about $400,000, which would come from bond funds.
The board toured the school, which sits on 65 acres. The buildings total 350,000 square feet and there are 130 classrooms.
There are already 800 students registered for the fall and Serrano anticipates at least 900 by the time school opens. The school will open with freshmen and sophomores and has an eventual capacity of about 3,000 students.
Also at the study session, board members Charlotte Patterson, Annette Auxier and Robert Rice discussed a proposed casino on the Gila River Indian Community, which would be located less than a mile from Hull Elementary School.
Rather than take a position on the casino, the board members decided to send a letter to the tribe asking that the May 25 deadline for public input be extended as the district and other public entities gather more information on the traffic impact and other aspects of the project. The board will also ask the tribe to consider other locations.