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Students ready to bring north Phoenix school to life

Lookout Mountain Elementary (Jim Cross/KTAR)

PHOENIX, Ariz. -- About 1,000 students will be heading back to school Monday at the new Lookout Mountain Elementary near First Street and Coral Gables.

The old Lookout Mountain School was demolished to make room for the new school complete with a gym, eco-friendly classrooms, a two story educational building, playgrounds, ball fields and more.

Principal Trish Johnson and her teachers were in on the design from the beginning. So this is a very significant opening day of school.

"I cannot tell you how special this is," Johnson said. "Just the amount of energy. The feeling of watching this come to life at the moment you unlock the gates."

The school was designed with students in mind, but it is certainly great for the teachers as well.

"Classrooms are larger than the old school," Johnson stated. "Everybody is walking a little prouder with the feeling of creating a fresh new space for students to learn."

And she said while the old school didn't have windows, the new Lookout does, which will help with the school day atmosphere.

Johnson is proud of everything about this new school right down to the design which is like an open end of a horseshoe to the east which frames Lookout Mountain.

And something the students won't see, the school sits atop the largest geothermal site in Arizona.

"They're about 300 feet deep and pull groundwater at a temperature of 78-85 degrees," Johnson said. "That will cool our educational building and gym."

That will save the district a lot of money on energy costs in the future. The renovation was funded by a $15 million bond override that voters in the Washington Elementary School District approved.

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About the Author


Position: Senior News Reporter. Started with KTAR July 4, 1999.

Favorite spots in Arizona: Pinetop-Lakeside, Alpine, Greer.

Have covered some of the biggest stories in Arizona including nine of the top 10 largest wildfires in state history. The Wallow Fire in 2011 became the largest fire in state history. Rodeo-Chediski Fire in June 2002, which is the second largest fire in Arizona. Covered the Yarnell Hill Tragedy in June 2013 that left 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots dead.

Favorite movies: True Grit, both 1969 John Wayne classic and the remake with Jeff Bridges and Lonesome Dove.

Sports Teams: Washington State University Cougars, Texas Longhorns, The University of Montana Grizzlies.

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