Briarwood, Trailwood, Crestview rebuilds will start this summer; some students displaced for 2015-2016

Patrons gave the district high marks overall, but listed overcrowding as a concern. Briarwood Elementary has some of the largest class sizes in the area.
Briarwood Elementary (pictured above) and Crestview Elementary are heading for the wrecking ball this summer.

The 2015-2016 school year will be a time of significant transition for students at three elementaries serving northeast Johnson County families.

As part of the scope of work to be funded by the bond issue voters approved in January, Briarwood Elementary in Prairie Village and Crestview Elementary in Merriam will be razed this summer to make way for new school buildings to be built on those properties. School administrators are in the process of informing parents of plans to have Briarwood children attend class at Broadmoor Technical Center, 6701 W 83rd St, and Crestview children attend class at the Arrowhead Administration Building, 6601 Santa Fe Drive, for the coming school year.

At Trailwood Elementary, which sits just across 95th Street from Prairie Village in Overland Park, the plan is for students to attend class in the current facilities while construction crews build a new school building on the same property.

Prior to the bond issue vote, district administrators couldn’t confirm that they would be ready for the teardown process by this summer, and suggested it was possible Briarwood and Crestview students could be attending classes in their existing buildings for the 2015-2016 school year with construction slated to begin the following year. Instead, the district was able to move far enough ahead with the design portion of the projects to allow them to start the rebuilds this year.

In addition to the three elementaries in northeast Johnson County, the district will be rebuilding Benninghoven Elementary in the SM Northwest service area.

“In the past we would have built one of those at a time and that would have happened over a period of maybe five to six years to complete that,” said Dr. Kenny Southwick, the deputy superintendent overseeing the projects. “Dr. Hinson has given Mr. [Bob] Robinson and myself a challenge — as well as the architects and [J.E.] Dunn Construction Company — that we will have four elementary schools out of the ground by Christmas.”

The staffs of Crestview and Briarwood will begin moving to their temporary new homes the final day of this school year. Southwick said conceptual designs for the plans from the architects should be complete in the coming months.

“As we develop those, principals will be involved in that programming,” he said. “We get far enough along to show something, we’re going to go out and visit with staffs in those buildings and also have a community evening to bring parents in and at least let people see where we are in those stages.”

Southwick said the goal for the rebuild projects is still to have students be able to return to their usual school property at the start of the 2016-2017 school year. If the new buildings are not complete by then, however, students would look to move into the new Briarwood and Crestview buildings after the 2016 Christmas break.

“We would really like to be able to move students into their building next year in the fall, [but] we think it’s extremely aggressive as we work with the engineers and architects,” he said. “A lot of it has to do with the city approval process.”