New west side high school to open in August

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Summer is almost over.

When high school students in the westside neighborhood go back to class in August. They'll go to a different high school. Now, an old building will serve an entirely new generation of scholars.

Kodak moments represent points of pride for Joseph Ojeda, Junior. He said his family has called Bellview Avenue their home for over 40 years. He shared photos of several generations of his family, all of whom call the west side their home.

"We've seen a lot of changes," Ojeda said. "This is a big change right now."

He's talking about the growth he sees right across the street, as the old Douglass School is being transformed into the new Alta Vista High School.

Ojeda saw his own children attend school in this building.

"I'm happy for the kids around here," Ojeda said. "They've got it rough around here. They have to go so far for school."

And across the street, sweat represents progress.

Jean Paul Chaurand works for the Guadalupe Center, which promotes the betterment of Latinos in Kansas City. He grew up in this neighborhood too, and he's helping finance more than $4 million to help open this charter school. Charand has assisted with the installation of a new HVAC system, new digital data lines and modernized drywall and lighting rigs.

"There's nothing better than being able to bring this back to life and bring this back to the community," Chardard said. "The satisfaction I get from this is immense."

The building has gotten a complete overhaul in the last few months. This is a building with 60 years worth of history, but no one's called it their school in the last three years. Now, it will be a state of the art new school. Everything's new -- even the kitchen sink.

"We got a ton of enthusiasm from everyone here in the neighborhood about - boy, we're glad you're bringing it back online," Charand said.

He said as many as 90 percent of students enrolled in this school will come from a Latino background.

And that joy could make for future moments of civic pride.

The new Alta Vista High School is scheduled to officially open on August 19th.

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