SMSD News: Rebuilding elementary schools


Shawnee Mission community members will soon be asked to consider a bond proposal, designed to provide lasting facilities improvements and to strengthen student achievement by providing a pathway to reduce secondary teacher workload. 

The Board of Education, on October 26, 2020, unanimously approved a resolution to place a $264.2 million bond proposal on a mail ballot this January.   

Every aspect of the bond is proposed with the goal of helping learners achieve their full potential. That’s what will allow Shawnee Mission to continue to be ranked among the finest school districts in the nation. It’s why we want to keep employing exceptional educators who work in state-of-the art facilities. 

In the proposed 2021 bond, five elementary school rebuilds have been identified. You can watch a video about the elementary rebuilds here

The five proposed rebuilds include:

  • John Diemer Elementary School
  • Pawnee Elementary School
  • Rushton Elementary School
  • Tomahawk Elementary School
  • Westwood View Elementary School

These schools were selected based on evaluations of the 10 oldest elementary schools. The information was compiled by architects, engineers, and district administration, using industry standards, to collectively define ongoing facility needs for each school. The elementary schools being considered for rebuild are aging buildings with increasing maintenance needs. Through the evaluation process, using a variety of criteria (including safety, maintainability, and educational adequacy) it has been determined it will be more cost effective to rebuild rather than renovate these schools.

The proposed, anticipated timeline for these rebuilds includes John Diemer and Westwood View in 2021, Pawnee in 2022 and Rushton and Tomahawk in 2023. 

Parents, staff, and community members from each school will provide their input for architects and administrators during visioning sessions. The district and the architects will include their ideas, suggestions, and recommendations from parents, staff, and community members in the plan for the new schools. 

A ThoughtExchange about different parts of the new school plans will be shared with all staff and families so that the new schools will reflect what is important to the community.

“When we build a new school, it will be here for the community for many generations,” noted Duane Cash, incite Design Studio office director and client leader. “The students who will go to the new school may grow up and stay in the neighborhood, and their children may attend the school. It’s rewarding to serve generations of kids.”

Brookwood Elementary was rebuilt and opened in March 2019. Students, staff, and families overwhelmingly approved of the new school. Students and teachers appreciated the learning spaces in the hallway and classrooms, with tables instead of desks to promote collaboration. Staff and families from Shawnee Mission’s newest school buildings have also provided feedback on what could be improved upon, and what features any new buildings should include. 

“It’s more than a building, it’s a journey, and that means something to our teachers and community,” Rob Shackleford, John Diemer principal said. 

Mail-in ballots for the bond election are due on January 26, 2020.

 



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