On Monday, January 13, Cherokee Elementary School students, parents, neighbors, teachers, staff and Scottsdale Unified School District (SUSD) officials gathered to celebrate the kick-off of the Cherokee construction projects.

The ceremony featured remarks from Scottsdale Unified School District Supt. Dr. John Kriekard; SUSD Governing Board President Allyson Beckham; SUSD Asst. Supt. for Elementary Education Dr. Ibi Haghighat, Cherokee Principal Walt Chantler, Cherokee APT President Kendra Scheer, and representatives from Orcutt Winslow Architects and CORE Construction, whose companies, respectively, are responsible for the design and construction of the new school.

Cherokee student groups played an integral role in the ceremony, including the Presentation of Colors by members of the school’s Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops, and performances by the Cherokee Voices, Glee Club and Cheer team.
The Cherokee project began in October 2018, when the SUSD Governing Board approved the school to be the next school redeveloped with voter-approved 2016 bond funds. A series of meetings with the Cherokee community including neighbors, parents, teachers and staff, began in January 2019. Additionally, a Visioning Committee worked in concert with the architects to fine-tune that community input for the architects’ plans. In November 2019, the SUSD Governing Board approved a construction contract with CORE of $23,040,730.

Construction will take place in three phases between now and mid-2021.

A guaranteed maximum price of $23,040,730 has been set by CORE Construction for the project. The original estimate for the entire project came in it $24,119,290, however, savings in areas including enclosures and structure reduced the overall price. The Cherokee construction project is part of the 2016 voter-approved bond for the district to renovate or rebuild specific schools.
Phase 1 of the rebuild is expected to run through mid-July, with a construction crew working on the southern area of the school by demolishing the overhang and playground equipment and constructing two buildings that will house classrooms. Crews will then demo existing classroom buildings upon release for summer break at the end of May. Construction will then begin on two other buildings and the playground.

Phase 2 is set to begin in August and will include finalizing construction on the remaining classroom buildings in the center of campus. This Phase is expected to wrap up in January 2021, and the final phase will commence in February 2021 with demolition of the remaining buildings on the northern end of the campus as well as construction of a new parking lot. The entire project is scheduled for completion on March 19, 2021.

Cherokee Elementary School, located at 8801 North 56th Street, was built in 1974. It is the largest K-5 school in the district with nearly 800 students.