Shawnee Mission looks at resurrecting Antioch Middle School for administration building

Antioch Middle School on 71st Street.
Antioch Middle School on 71st Street.

Antioch Middle School, not used for students since the wave of school closings three years ago, could come back to life as an administrative center for the Shawnee Mission School District. Unlike Mission Valley Middle School, which was sold by the district and is now the center of a development controversy, Antioch is still owned by the district.

That possibility is just one component of a study of district buildings. Superintendent Jim Hinson said this week that the district has its architects looking at its buildings to see if they are safe and secure and if there are options for making them more secure. In addition, the district is studying Antioch to determine if it can house combined district administrative functions.

The school district currently has administrative staff at the the McEachen Administrative Center, Indian Creek Technology Center and the Arrowhead Administrative Center. Some administrative support functions also are housed at the Shawnee Mission Instructional Support Center and the Broadmoor Technical Center, according to district spokesperson Leigh Anne Neal. The district also has an operations and maintenance location and a warehouse.

Antioch, on 71st Street just west of Milburn Country Club, has 82,000 square feet of space. The McEachen building on Antioch just south of 71st Street, has 34,812 square feet and has most of its available space occupied. The other buildings with administrative personnel in them are scattered around the district. Shawnee Mission has approximately 3,700 employees, with 2,100 of those certified staff.

A potential consolidation into Antioch would be an efficiency move that could streamline administrative functions. The district is also close to hiring a professional demographer to outline population trends. Hinson said the district is taking a “total look” at its buildings.

In his recent listening tour, Hinson said, he heard about building needs, energy efficiency and technology from school patrons. The community “clearly” has things it wants the district to do, he said.

Those actions could require short-term financing and in a presentation to the board Monday, district bond advisors said the district has plenty of capacity to raise millions of dollars in both short and long term bonds without increasing the property tax rate over current levels. Conservatively, the district could immediately raise $40 to $50 million with just a board vote and longer term could raise another $200 million with a citizen vote.

Hinson said the district was “aggressively” looking at funding options to address capital needs, but emphasized doing it with no levy increase.