Mountain Pointe and Desert Vista high schools are getting some needed facelifts this summer in the form of a new parking lot, fence and roof.
The work is part of a $30 million bond issue Tempe Union High School District voters passed in 2008. About $14 million of that money was earmarked to replace the ventilation system at Corona del Sol High School, which had air quality problems, and the rest was spread among the Tempe Union High School District’s other six high schools and the district office.
Some of the most visible work in Ahwatukee Foothills this summer is happening at Mountain Pointe, which is getting its parking lot asphalt replaced, a new perimeter fence, a new track surface and some mechanical items replaced in and around the school buildings. Mountain Pointe’s share of the bond money is $2.9 million.
The district has received a couple e-mails from people driving past the school and asking why the parking lot is being torn up when it looked fine, said district spokeswoman Linda Littell.
“The parking lot, it’s the original parking lot. There were some expansions to it since the school was built, but it was built in 1989,” said Bob Anderson, director of plant operations for the district. “There has been a couple recoatings. I think a lot of people think, ‘That was just done.’ They’re probably thinking about the recoating.”
Recoating the parking lot has helped extend its life, but a typical parking lot lasts 15 to 20 years before it needs to be replaced, Anderson said. As a result, Mountain Pointe has had some issues with crumbling pavement and potholes.
“It was pretty far gone,” Anderson said. “We had some complaints from students and parents.”
The perimeter fence has a similar story. It’s the original fence from 1989, and it was supposed to last about 15 years, Anderson said.
Due to its age and the elements, there were weak parts of the fence that raised both security issues and potentially dangerous sharp edges, Anderson said.
People may not have noticed that damage driving past the school, but inspecting the fence close up is a different matter, Anderson said.
“The metal was rusting so much that it wouldn’t take much to kick the wrought iron fence and part of it would fall off,” he said.
Mountain Pointe’s track is also being resurfaced for the first time since about 1995, Anderson said.
Other than those large items, the bond money will cover projects like refurbishing elevator units, replacing the fire alarm system and replacing the stage’s dimmer system. Some of those projects are happening this summer, while others will get under way later on.
Desert Vista has a larger share of the bond money at $3.5 million, but the biggest ticket item probably isn’t as noticeable just passing by: the entire roof is being replaced.
The old roof was original to the school, which opened in 1996, Anderson said. School roofs have about a 15-year life.
“The roof membrane was starting to deteriorate. We were going to have problems if we didn’t do something soon,” he said.
The new roof is more energy efficient, so it should save a bit on power bills, Anderson said.
“It’s a good roof system,” Anderson said. “It’s one that’s designed for commercial, school applications that will take abuse.”
Desert Vista will also get a security fence around the school, a recoated parking lot and a refurbished track, among other items.
When voters approve bonds, the money must be used for the construction items contained in the bond proposal.
Planning for the projects started shortly after voters approved the bond in November 2008, and some construction projects started about a year later.
While the district has seven years to collect the bond money for the different projects, they’re trying to get the work done a lot sooner than that.
“We’re hoping to get all those things accomplished between now and this time next year,” Anderson said.