As students of Canyon Del Oro High School return to school this fall, they will step foot onto a campus that has been largely transformed since classes let out in May.
Using voter-approved bond money, the high school has undergone a project to improve and supplement its academic and athletic facilities.
The long list of renovations will include new classrooms, refurbished restrooms, a re-crowned football field, rendered track and field area, and new commons area (formerly known as the MPR).
According to CDO Principal Marcia Volpe, the new classrooms will replace portable classrooms located to the rear of the campus, while the commons area will include some new, modern features.
“The area will include a stage, and on the west side of the commons area will have glass folding doors to enter and exit, similar to a community college scene,” she said.
The construction will also be beneficial to faculty, as the administration building is being revamped to create more room for staff. Each of the school buildings will also be rewired to improve an aged information technology system.
The administration building and commons area are scheduled to be completed by the beginning of the school year, while the new classrooms are slotted to be finished by fall.
The football field will be finished just in time for the season to begin. The crowning process will adhere to what is considered a properly designed football field by raising the center of the field to allow excess water to drain.
“We’re very excited to watch the first game on that beautiful field,” said Volpe.
Head Football Coach Dustin Peace said the field would be worth the wait.
“We’ve been having to dodge the construction, which can be a bit of a distraction to a team, but obviously this will be worth the wait and a good payoff for everyone,” he said.
The Dorados football team is looking to improve from its 7-4 record last year.
“We have high expectations,” said Peace. “By some standards, last season was a good season, but for us, it is not where we want to be. We know we need to start this year out a little faster.”
The renovations to the football field are not the first improvement to come to CDO’s athletic program as of late.
In October 2011, the school began construction on eight new tennis courts, which were completed just prior to the 2012 spring sports season.
“They are the best courts on this side of town,” said Athletic Director David Thatcher.
“The courts feature post-tension concrete slabs, acrylic paint, new nets, a new set of bleachers, and a new court fence.”
Though the courts are used during spring season play, they are also open to the public on weekends and outside of school hours on weekdays.
In the same project, which costs an additional $1.1 million, CDO constructed a walkway from the west parking lot to the sports stadium, which will allow for wheelchair access, as well as a new softball field to be used for physical education classes.
Thatcher said as with years past, he expects solid performances from the CDO athletic teams this year.
“Every one of our programs is as strong as they’ve ever been,” he said. “We are looking to make a big run at the state level.”
The CDO softball team brought the school its most recent state title when it defeated Peoria Sunrise Mountain in Division II competition.
The CDO football season starts on Aug. 24 with an away game against Ironwood Ridge High School.