Former Leawood grocery store to become ‘idea space’ for Kansas City metro students


LEAWOOD, Kan. — The Barstow School is breathing new life into a Johnson County grocery store that’s been shuttered for years.

There are now plans to develop a community resource at 122nd Street and State Line Road for students across the metro.

Barstow purchased the former Hy-Vee store in the area and is turning it into an incubation hub, a space where students can develop ideas and explore solutions to problems.

The 32,000-square-foot idea space will focus on STEAM: science, technology, engineering, art and math.

The center will be open to all students in the Kansas City metro, regardless of whether children attend public or private schools or are home schooled.

“As we have gone through COVID, we took a slight pause in our fundraising efforts to really listen to the community and find out what our kids need,” said Jennifer Dreiling, vice president of external development at Barstow.

“Now more than ever, they need this collaborative space where they can come together and work in a maker’s space, explore in a fabrication lab and really, hands-on learning is more important than ever.”

Dreiling hopes that the idea space will enable kids to regain lost learning caused by the pandemic during the last year, by taking advantage of the hands-on experimentation that will happen in the renovated building.

The project costs $8 million, and the school already has raised $5.6 million.

The space will open next summer with camps, after-school programs and partnerships with nearby school districts.

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