Orcutt Winslow meets with community to discuss Cherokee project

Cherokee Elementary School (photo courtesy of SUSD)

Phoenix-based Orcutt Winslow recently met with Scottsdale Unified School District parents, staff and neighbors for the first time to discuss the changes coming to Cherokee Elementary School, 8801 N. 56th St. in Paradise Valley.

Cherokee’s architect team, which Tom O’Neil is leading, met with approximately 50 people for the first time Monday, Dec. 17 to begin a collaborative design process, according to a press release.

The attendees worked in groups to identify an initial list of goals they would like to see achieved in the Cherokee project.

On that wish list are:

  • A unique, sustainable design;
  • improved layers of security;
  • indoor and outdoor collaborative learning spaces;
  • increased natural lighting; better vehicle traffic circulation; and
  • more multi-purpose spaces for school and community events.

No decision has been made on whether Cherokee will be completely rebuilt or if its pod-like structures will undergo renovations. Orcutt Winslow plans five more meetings with the Cherokee community before architects develop a design, which could take up to six months.

Construction could begin by this time next year. The next community meeting is scheduled for Jan. 7, 2019 at the Cherokee campus.

The Scottsdale Unified School District’s Governing Board selected the architecture firm at its Tuesday, Dec. 11 monthly meeting. In October, the board chose Cherokee as the next Scottsdale Unified school to be re-developed with 2016 voter-approved bonds.

Originally opened in 1974 and situated on nearly 19.5 acres, Cherokee Elementary school was last renovated in 2001.

The school provides educational, recreational and social-emotional learning experiences for 724 students, from toddlers through fifth grade.

“It’s going to be an amazing project,” Principal Walt Chantler said in a prepared statement. “We’re excited for Cherokee’s future.”

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