Shawnee Mission elementary students get first look at new school

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MERRIAM, Kan. -- Some students in the Shawnee Mission School District returned from spring break to a brand new school building Wednesday morning.

For the last nearly two years students attended the former Arrowhead Elementary School while they waited for Crestview Elementary School to open its doors.

The new building is all on one level and has a number of study areas and classroom hallways.

This is one of five schools being replaced in the district thanks to a $223-million bond.

The former Crestview building was 60 years old and needed major repairs, so the district decided to rebuild it.

"There's a lot of focus on 21st-century skills, on kids being able to problem solve, to think clearly, to write and do math but also to collaborate. Because that's how we work in the world," deputy superintendent Dr. Kenny Southwick said. "Fourty years ago I had a classroom, I had a textbook, students walked in, and as long as I kept them busy, and it was a great education, but I kept them out of the principal's office I was doing a great job as a teacher. It's very different than that now."

The school now has 350 students and will add pre-k students next year.

Part of their long-term project includes building a new district headquarters at 71st and Antioch, where the former Antioch Middle School used to stand.

"To think that students sit at a desk anymore, isolated, that's just not the world we live in," Dr. Southwick said. "So we want to create an experience from early on, for students learn socially, where they learn with the content, with the technology, with great teachers and if they practiced that on a day-to-day basis they will be better fit to go out into the workforce someday. And that's our goal."

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