LEE’S SUMMIT, Mo. — Lee’s Summit, Missouri, goes back to school Tuesday and many students will be at new schools.

In opening East Trails Middle School the district has gone through redistricting and is moving 6th graders from elementary to middle school.

A celebration was held Monday to cut the ribbon on a new 194,000 square foot middle school.

“It is just overwhelming thinking about today and what we’re celebrating,” Kathryn Campbell, Lee’s Summit School Board President said.

Lee’s Summit voters approved the $224 million bond in 2020 to build East Trails, and renovate Lee’s Summit High and the district’s other three middle schools. It’s allowed the district to expand middle schools moving up 6th graders, while also freeing up space in the growing district’s 18 elementary schools.

“The 6th graders come up ,they get to explore their interest and have specific classwork more so than they could in elementary, as well as they get to create a family and be together three straight years.”

Students and their families got to tour the new school Monday with two-story open common pod spaces for each grade level.

“I’m excited also I’m a little nervous to find my way around the new school,” 8th grader Mikayla Reed, who formerly went to Pleasant Lea, said.

Finding their way around something the schools 992 students will have to get used to, as will all the first time sixth and seventh graders at other middle schools and students at new schools as part of the redistricting. District leaders don’t see it as growing pains, but growing opportunities.

“We’re continuing to grow and we’re excited to continue to expand our opportunities. For one example this move to middle schools will now push sports down to 7th grade that’s something we haven’t had before, so we are able to offer more opportunities to kids,” Buck said.

Middle school sports are not the only ones benefitting, with no space for baseball and softball fields at Lee’s Summit High, the district used extra space at the middle school to build the high school its own fields.

Of course you can’t build a new school in 2022 without thinking about security. East Trails has surveillance cameras, locked vestibules, and intruder locks. It also has a tornado shelter built to withstand winds of more than 200 miles per hour.

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