Shawnee Mission plans for construction of three new schools

Education

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Officials from the Shawnee Mission School District say plans are underway to break ground on three new elementary schools later this year. 

On Monday, the Overland Park Planning Commission unanimously approved the district’s site plan for construction of a new elementary school.

Pending approval from the Overland Park City Council, the current John Diemer Elementary building at 9600 Lamar Avenue will be demolished in June and replaced with a two-story, 77,800-square-foot building. 

“The kids will be going to school there until the end of school, which would be the last week of May. We will be moving the furniture and all of the things out of that building as soon as the kids leave for summer. Then we will demolish that building,” Deputy Superintendent Dr. Rick Atha said.

Atha said construction is expected to last approximately 15 months. This fall students from John Diemer will move into the Indian Creek building at 4401 W. 103rd Street and remain there through winter break of 2022. Atha anticipates students would return to the new John Diemer building in the spring of 2023. 

Proposed rendering of the John Diemer Elementary School rebuild.

“I’m expecting to have over $100 million in projects going this summer and fall,” Atha said. 

Last week, the Westwood City Council unanimously approved the district’s site plan to build a new elementary school at the former Entercom property at 50th and Belinder.

Demolition of the former Entercom building in Westwood, KS.

“We are hopeful to start building the new Westwood Elementary beginning in June if not before,” Atha said.

Atha estimates the project should take about 15 months to complete. Students will remain at the current Westwood building during construction. 

“We are hopeful to be in the new school by January of 2023. We will start moving in over winter break of 2022,” Atha said.

Construction of the new Westwood View Elementary School is estimated to cost approximately $23 million. Atha said the district will be putting out a request for bids later this week. 

In January, voters approved a $264 million bond for the school district to replace five schools including Pawnee, Rushton, John Diemer, Tomahawk and Westwood View.

“Thank goodness that we have a community that’s extremely supportive of public education. They supported this bond referendum by 69% at a very difficult time,” Atha said.

The district plans to begin construction at Pawnee Elementary in October. Atha said construction projects will be staggered to allow the district time to plan for students to be transported to nearby district buildings during construction. 

“The purpose for building on that site is so that the Westwood View kids can continue to go to school at Westwood View while their new school is being built. While they move into their new school, we will be able to rebuild Rushton Elementary,” Atha said.

Construction plans have not yet been announced for Rushton or Tomahawk elementaries. 

During construction:

  • Students at Westwood View Elementary will remain at the current location at  2511 W 50th Street.
  • Students at John Diemer Elementary will be transported to the Indian Creek building at 4401 W. 103rd Street.
  • Students at Pawnee Elementary will remain at 9501 W 91st Street while the new school is built on the property. 
  • Students at Rushton Elementary will be transported to the former Westwood View Elementary School (2511 W 50th Street) until construction is complete.
  • Students at Tomahawk Elementary will be transported to Indian Creek once construction begins at a later date.

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