Covid-Delayed Ceremony Includes Unveiling of Mural by Sports Muralist Mike Sullivan

                   PHOENIX, Ariz. (Aug. 10, 2022): The Covid-delayed ribbon-cutting ceremony of the Balsz School District’s newest school, Pat Tillman Middle School, will take place on Friday, Aug. 12 from 8:15-10:30 a.m. at the school at 4309 E. Belleview Street in Phoenix. Special guests expected at the event include students attending Tillman Middle School, Balsz Governing Board members, City of Phoenix officials, congressional representatives, state legislators, community members, Balsz faculty, teachers, and others.

                   The school is named after the former ASU Sun Devil and Arizona Cardinals football player and decorated American war hero who left a successful professional football career with the Arizona Cardinals to serve his country following the 9/11 attacks. Pat Tillman Middle School is the newest and most innovative technology-advanced school in Phoenix.

                   “We welcome the opportunity to celebrate the opening of the Tillman Middle School and to recognize the amazing students, faulty, teachers, and staff here in the Balsz School District,” said Gail Knight, President, Balsz Governing Board. “COVID delayed our celebration, but not our resolve or spirit, and only increased our passion for this remarkably innovative school and campus featuring a state-of-the-art classroom building that fosters learning and collaboration.”

                   “Tillman Middle School is home to a range of programs offering STEM-driven curriculum, and specialty pathways including AVID, an advanced college and career readiness program; STEM; Digital Media Arts; and Kinetics. says Dr. George Barnes, Superintendent of Balsz Elementary School District. “You can literally feel the students’ excitement on your first steps inside the building.”

    The school replaced the Balsz Elementary School, originally built in 1964, updated in 1996 and fully renovated in 2019 based on feedback and suggestions from students, educators and community members about imagery and graphics honoring Tillman’s legacy. DLR Group designed the school and McCarthy Building Companies was the construction manager.

    “It is very thoughtful and gracious of Balsz Elementary School District and the community of Phoenix to name the middle school after Pat,” said Kevin Tillman. “I believe, more importantly, that Pat would be pleased with the high level of resources, commitment and care being focused on students, teachers and staff.”

                   The $16.9 million, 70,000 square-foot project was funded through a voter-approved bond election in November 2018 and is located a few miles away from Arizona State University’s Sun Devil Stadium where Tillman played collegiate football.

    “It’s been a privilege to work with the Tillman school community on this major renovation of their school campus, which brings an enhanced educational and STEM learning experience to current and future students,” said Steve Poulin, senior vice president of McCarthy’s Education Group. “We are honored to be part of this project that recognizes Pat Tillman for his service to our country and his athletic achievements as the namesake of the school.” 

    “I’m excited when I visit Tillman Middle School and see the students enjoying their independence, agency, and choice by collaborating both inside the classroom and in the many break-out spaces beyond the classroom walls,” said DLR Group Principal Carmen Wyckoff, AIA.

    Balsz Elementary School District is located in east Phoenix and is the educational home to more than 2,100 students. The slogan, “Believe in Balsz,” captures the essence of the diverse community we serve and the success the students produce. The district’s six exceptional schools offer innovative curriculum at Crockett, Griffith and Brunson-Lee Elementary, Pat Tillman Middle School, the Balsz Online Academy and the Orangedale Early Learning Center preschool.

    The event also will feature the official unveiling of a mural by renowned sports muralist Mike Sullivan, who is currently creating a series of original murals at major stadiums and venues that began with his first mural of Pat Tillman at ASU’s Sun Devil Stadium. Recent murals include one of Jackie Robinson at Jackie Robinson Stadium (UCLA Baseball), The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (USC Football), Notre Dame Stadium (Notre Dame Football), and DKR Memorial Stadium in Austin, TX.

                   For more information about Balsz School District, visit www.balsz.org.


    About the Balsz School District
    The Balsz Elementary School District’s six exceptional schools in east Phoenix are Brunson-Lee Elementary, Crockett Elementary, Griffith Elementary, Pat Tillman Middle School, the Balsz Online Academy and Orangedale Early Learning Center preschool. We value excellence, achievement, innovation and community and our mission is to nurture the unique skills and abilities of all learners. We focus on creating safe, inclusive and diverse learning environments to empower students to be globally competitive and innovative thinkers who contribute to their community’s sustainability. Our highly trained teachers work with parents and families to provide the best pathway for success for our students. For more information, visit www.balsz.org. 

    About DLR Group
    DLR Group is an integrated design firm delivering architecture, engineering, interiors, planning, and building optimization for new construction, renovation, and adaptive reuse. Our promise is to elevate the human experience through design. This promise inspires sustainable design for a diverse group of public and private sector clients; local communities; and our planet. DLR Group is 100 percent employee-owned and fully supports the initiatives and goals of the 2030 Challenge, and is an initial signatory to the China Accord and the AIA 2030 Commitment.

    About McCarthy Building Companies

    McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. is the oldest privately held national construction company in the country – with more than 150 years spent collaborating with partners to solve complex building challenges on behalf of its clients. With an unrelenting focus on safety and a comprehensive quality program that span all phases of every project, McCarthy utilizes industry-leading design phase and construction techniques combined with value-add technology to maximize outcomes. Repeatedly honored as a Best Place to Work and Healthiest Employer, McCarthy is ranked the 9th largest domestic general contractor (Engineering News-Record, May 2022). McCarthy is 100 percent employee owned.

    Contacts:          Karl Gentles, The Gentles Agency, karl@karlgentlespr.com, 602.920.1809
                               Steve Carr, Kur Carr Group, scarr51@gmail.com, 602.317.3040