This week marked a significant milestone in the history of Tempe Preparatory Academy as it held a groundbreaking ceremony initiating construction of a 20,000 square-foot Fine Arts and Sciences Center. This building, being constructed on the southwest corner of the Tempe Prep campus for students in grades 6-12, is part of a campuswide renovation that will include two new structures as well as significant renovations to a majority of the other campus buildings.
Plans for these changes began in the fall of 2017 with the formation of a “move or improve” committee charged in reviewing the school’s current facilities, as well as seeking alternative sites for the campus within Tempe, and providing the school board with a strategic plan that would take the school into the future. “After tireless hours of work, the committee determined that adding a new building to our current campus and retrofitting other facilities will serve our community the best,” said Mrs. Karen Snyder, the current capital campaign chair and chair of the “move or improve” committee that proposed the changes. She also shared the group’s vision to improve facilities to meet the expanding needs of Tempe Prep and its students.
The new two-story Fine Arts and Sciences Center will double the amount of indoor space on campus and include enhanced student and staff health protocols. The ground floor will contain a 400-seat auditorium, administrative offices and the College and Career Counseling Center. The upper floor will include two large honors sciences labs with additional classroom space, an expanded music room and a large art room. Both floors will have spaces for tutoring and student collaboration as well as student and visitor restrooms.
“These renovations won’t change what Temp Prep is, nor our philosophy of how best to educate our students,” said Tempe Prep Headmaster, Dr. Wayne Porter. “It will, however, allow us to continue to do what we have been doing well for going on 25 years. We will now be doing so in facilities that are more equal to the life-changing education we provide.”
The new building is expected to open to students and faculty in time for the start of the spring semester on Jan. 4, 2021. The budget for entire campus renovation is $7.2 million, with $5.8 million going to the construction of the Fine Arts and Sciences Center. Funding for the projects will be realized through a private bond and a capital fundraising drive.
Along with the Fine Arts and Sciences building, Tempe Prep is constructing and renovating five structures in two phases as part of its total campus rejuvenation. The first phase includes a large façade along Southern Avenue, along with the new building. The renovation of a new faculty building, independent study hall, student center and restroom facilities will be part of the second phase.
Together, these changes will allow all curricular programs to be located on a contiguous campus that can be secured during the school day. This long-standing challenge was remarked on by former Headmaster and Tempe Mayor Mr. Hugh Hallman. “When I was headmaster, we were concerned about the fact that we could not secure the campus. That this project provides a solution to the problem is probably not noticed by many but is perhaps one of the most important things that can be achieved.”
About Tempe Prep: Tempe Preparatory Academy is a tuition-free public charter school in Tempe for students in grades 6-12 that provides a nationally acclaimed liberal arts education based on the Great Books of Western Civilization with an exceptional math, science, foreign language, humanities, and fine arts curriculum. Tempe Prep has been recognized by the Arizona Board of Regents as having the highest percentage of college graduates in the state and has been named the #1 high school in Arizona by Newsweek (America’s Top High Schools 2016). For more information about enrolling at Tempe Prep, visit the school’s website at tempeprep.org.