After nearly a year of preparation, planning and locking in a location, top-ranked BASIS Schools will be opening the doors of its new Ahwatukee Foothills location later this summer.

Classes will begin Aug. 5 in the 66,000-square-foot building, which formerly housed Ahwatukee Foothills Prep, just off 51st Street near Elliot Road.

John Hillis, soon-to-be head of school for the Ahwatukee campus, said he hopes to have more than 600 students enrolled for the first day. The campus will be offering fifth through 10th grades the first year, with plans to rollout grades 11th and 12th by the 2015-16 school year.

“This is also the biggest (campus site) so far,” Hillis said.

Like the other BASIS locations in the Valley, Hillis plans to have a gymnasium, stage and other features coming with interior renovations before school begins.

The campus will have about 30 to 35 classrooms operating, including chemistry labs, about 38 teachers, as well as a staff of nearly 10 for administration.

BASIS Schools’ Tucson campus was named the country’s No. 1 high school in 2012 by the Washington Post, with the Scottsdale location ranked No. 3 in the country by Newsweek. The public charter school, which is state funded and independently operated, pillars in a rigorous curriculum, student accountability, and effective teachers.

“When you walk into a BASIS school, you know you are in a BASIS school,” Hillis said. “There’s something almost tangible about it.”

Mentioning that the difference with BASIS Schools is seen in the classrooms, Hillis said that a desire to learn and compete in students is what sets BASIS Schools apart from other schools.

Since the opening of a Chandler location last year, and the hope of opening a Mesa campus this August, a buzz has been percolating about Ahwatukee Foothills and the possibility of BASIS coming to the community.

The campus already has support from prospective parents for a future booster group, common among other BASIS locations, which helps financially support the school.

“They are very supportive and trust that we have the right people in these schools and that we’re going to do the right thing for these kids,” Hillis said.

Last week, more than 260 interested parents and students attending informational meetings got the chance to meet Hillis and learn more about the new campus.

While the first round of enrollment ended Wednesday afternoon, Hillis said it will open up again before the summer and parents will be offered more informational meetings to attend before classroom bells ring in the year. Dates and times for the meetings have not yet been confirmed.

BASIS Schools’ new location in Ahwatukee will be at 10210 S. 50th Place. For more information, visit

Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or Follow on Twitter: @_dianamartinez.

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