The preferred site for the new Shawnee Mission School District aquatic center is on the south end of the SM South stadium site, but it remains to be determined if that is a viable location.
SM South is the most likely place for a new aquatic center and companion wellness center for district employees and students because of the size of the campus, according to Superintendent Jim Hinson. It has more available land than the other high schools. The construction of the aquatic center is planned as part of a $223 million bond issue scheduled for a mail ballot election in January. The bond issue will not require any change in the tax rate charged by the district.
Concern arose recently regarding possible placement of the aquatic center on part of the land used for the Shawnee Mission Environmental Science Lab which lies on the east side of the campus. That led to an online petition opposing any use of the ESL land.
The district stadium at SM South needs to be rebuilt or renovated and Hinson said the preference is to wrap the aquatic center construction into the new stadium. That would likely place it on the south end of the stadium – or the southwest corner of the SM South property.
The southeast corner at Nall and 107th Street – land now home to a part of the ESL – offers high visibility, but creates traffic concerns, Hinson said. The northwest corner of the property raises issues regarding the flood plain of Indian Creek.
Normally, the architectural services to determine the design and viable location of the aquatic center would be paid from the bond issue proceeds, so a site would not be determined until after the sale of the bonds. However, Hinson said he is willing to pay for architects to determine if it is feasible to build on the south end of the stadium before the bond issue. Hinson met with parents at SM South last week.