Maricopa Unified School District Celebrates Opening of Desert Sunrise High School
By Alison Bailin -
Friday May 27, 2022
On May 24, leaders from the Maricopa Unified School District – including Superintendent Dr. Tracey Lopeman, Principal Marlene Armstrong, Assistant Principal Phillip Verdugo, Governing Board President Robert Downey, Vice-President Ben Owens, and Members Torri Anderson, and AnnaMarie Knorr came together with general contractor CHASSE Building Team and architect Orcutt Winslow to celebrate the ribbon cutting of Desert Sunrise High School. Desert Sunrise High School, which is located at 16200 N. Murphy Road in Maricopa, marks the second-ever high school in the region and is the first to open since Maricopa High School in 1955.
“The ribbon-cutting marks the completion of phase one of what will eventually be a 125,000-square-foot state-of-the-art school set across 80 acres,” says Dr. Tracey Lopeman, Superintendent of Maricopa Unified School District.
Phase I includes a two-story classroom building and upgrades, a cafeteria, gymnasium, and music building, a parking lot, a football field, a track complex, and an administration building.
“The school is built to accommodate 1,300 students; there are already 600 freshmen and sophomores enrolled.” says Dr. Lopeman.
Marlene Armstrong, a veteran teacher, and long-time school administrator, will serve as the school's principal. The school’s mascot is the Golden Hawks and school colors are navy blue, gray, and gold.
“Both the mascot and colors were chosen to embody the intention, values, and culture of the school, and the logo symbolizes the promise of sunrise and the majestic prominence of the mountain views in the area,” says Dr. Lopeman.
Immediately following the ribbon-cutting of phase one, District leaders also celebrated the groundbreaking of phase two of the school, which will include the construction of additional sporting facilities and a Student Commons Building that includes a media center, college and career counseling area, and a performance stage and is projected by CHASSE and Orcutt to be completed by July 1, 2023.There is already a third phase planned for Desert Sunrise as well. It includes additional sporting and educational facilities. A timeline for Phase III has not been determined and is contingent upon additional funding availability.
“Phase three could bring even more arts and career and technical education classes to the campus,” says Dr. Lopeman. “A competition gymnasium complex will also be added as will tennis courts, additional baseball and softball fields, and grandstand seating.”
Desert Sunrise will offer career academies on campus from day one. Through this program, more traditional subjects like English and Chemistry will be included in all curriculums, but there will also be the choice of specialized career academy courses focused on critical skills for jobs in industries ranging from journalism and sports medicine to air transportation and graphic design.
Among the career academies offered:
• STEM Academy
o Software & App Design
o Air Transportation
o Sports Medicine
• STEM Academy Electives
• Leadership Academy
o Business Management
o Digital Communications
o Ed Professions
o Sports Broadcasting/Journalism
• Leadership Academy Electives
o Academic Decathlon
o Speech & Debate – Law & Public Safety
There will also be electives on campus, including:
• Art I & II
• Spanish I &II
• Physical Education
• Advanced Physical Education