Basis Oro Valley was ranked No. 1 on the Washington Post’s America’s Most Challenging High Schools list.

A.E. Araiza/Arizona Daily Star

Basis Schools is expanding its early-elementary school education program to Oro Valley.

The charter school network is adding an elementary school, Basis Oro Valley Primary, adjacent to its current grades 5-12 campus at 11155 N. Oracle Road in Oro Valley.

Basis Schools Inc. bought 141,000 square feet of land for the new facility for $1.5 million from Evergreen-Steam Pump LLC. The building will cover 45,000 square feet.

The school will open in the fall, with administration and staff separate from the grades 5-12 campus. The school plans to hire between 40 and 50 teachers.

The K-4 school follows Basis’ opening of a K-6 school at 3825 E. Second St. in midtown.

Basis spokesman Phil Handler said the organization won’t necessarily open early elementary schools near all its campuses, but will respond to demand in a given area case by case.

Basis surveyed Oro Valley parents and found they had an “overwhelming demand” for a new school when the organization put out feelers via surveys and social networks, Handler said.

The charter’s popularity is due in part to its national success. Basis schools in Scottsdale and Tucson placed in the top seven of Newsweek’s 2013 rankings of the nation’s best high schools.

“Basis is opening a new school because there is demand for the same academic model of rigorous, positive, international, standardized academics” for earlier grades, Handler said. “We had a lot of input from residents who wanted us to go a little bit younger in that area.”

There will be an informational meeting on Jan. 16 at 6 p.m. at Basis Oro Valley. Interested parents can also visit online for registration information.

Handler said he doesn’t know how many students the school will admit, but if there are more students than spots, admission will be granted via a lottery conducted sometime in the spring.

Handler said there is no time line for construction, which has yet to begin, but he anticipates the building will be complete in time for the next school year.

“We have every confidence it will open in the fall,” he said.

Basis’ plans for early elementary campuses depend on parental demand, as well as how its current early elementary schools perform.

“To the extent that it works and the extent of demand at other campuses, it is possible” to add more early elementaries, he said. “It’s not going to be something that is necessarily going to happen at each of the existing campuses.”

Contact reporter Phil Villarreal at or by calling 573-4130.