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Villa de Paz Construction Project Set in Motion

VDP Construction Project
Ramiro Alvarez

Villa de Paz Construction Project Set in Motion, Creating New Opportunities for Pendergast District Students

The Pendergast Elementary School District is pleased to announce the commencement of the Villa de Paz Construction Project, which was approved during the May 2, 2023 Pendergast District Governing Board meeting. This project marks a significant milestone in the transformation of Villa de Paz Elementary School, and will create amazing teaching and learning spaces for students and staff.

What initially started as a visionary dream has now become a reality. During the 2022-2023 school year, the Pendergast District partnered with Orcutt|Winslow Design firm to host facility visioning meetings at all 12 school sites. The Facility Visioning Nights at Villa de Paz Elementary Computer Science Academy were a comprehensive exploration of ideas and input from students, parents, staff, and community members regarding the future of Villa de Paz Elementary. Their enthusiastic engagement over the course of the year resulted in a thoughtful and exhaustive consideration of possibilities.

Following the Villa de Paz Facility Visioning Nights, the district invited community members, including students, staff, parents, and local residents to participate in the Villa de Paz Construction Project Steering Committee. Together, they contributed invaluable insights and expertise, meticulously planning every aspect of the project while prioritizing the unique needs of the Villa de Paz community. The structure, first constructed between 1982 to 1985, has been reported by current faculty and students to be inadequate for supporting the demands of modern, 21st-century education and learning methods.

As a computer science academy, the students at Villa de Paz have unique learning space needs. Central to the project's objectives is a commitment to provide cutting-edge educational experiences as well as enhanced security. The new designs will provide students with an integrated library experience, classrooms that allow for greater instructional grouping flexibility, increased natural light, additional staff workrooms and restrooms, access to water fountains in each learning space, and additional modernization to allow students to access makerspaces and coding instruction each week. Villa de Paz will become a model for instructional innovation, including the integration of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) into the learning experience for 6th - 8th grade students. 

In addition to creating learning spaces that incorporate the latest research in their design, the project also includes  enhanced security measures and flexible seating arrangements  to redefine the educational landscape and elevate student success while giving parents, staff, and students peace of mind.

The results of the steering committee create  exciting opportunities for student participation and engagement in innovative learning experiences. Aligned with the district's vision of "innovative schools, empowered learners," the visionary design aims to cultivate a high-performing, collaborative community, equipping students to excel in a globally connected society. Jennifer Cruz, Superintendent for the Pendergast School District, stated, "This represents the most comprehensive overhaul and construction endeavor our system has ever undertaken. By engaging stakeholders at every step, from conceptualization to finalized plans, we anticipate a superior outcome that will effectively serve the needs of the Villa de Paz community."

This transformative endeavor represents a significant step forward, offering the potential to reshape the school's future positively. The Pendergast District looks forward to crafting a remarkable success story, establishing an enduring educational environment, and unlocking new possibilities for all involved. With unwavering determination, the Pendergast District aims to elevate educational horizons and propel students towards a brighter future.

About Pendergast Elementary School District

In 1885, the Pendergast School District was established in a farming community serving 100 students in one school. The educational philosophy was firmly rooted in the belief that the community, staff, and parents must act as a "family," providing the academic, social, and emotional support necessary to nurture capable, independent young minds. Today, the Pendergast School District covers 20 square miles and serves the communities of Phoenix, Glendale, and Avondale. The District boundaries are from Glendale Avenue to the North and I-10 to the South, 83rd Avenue to the East, and Agua Fria River to the West. The District provides excellent educational opportunities for approximately 8,500 preschool through eighth grade students on 12 campuses. For more information, visit