To an outsider, it wouldn’t have appeared that anything remotely unusual was taking place.
Dozens of parents held hands with their kids, walking toward the school’s main entrance, many pausing to snap photos alongside the Briarwood Elementary sign that sat outside. It looked like any first day of school. But for the hundreds of Briarwood students who made their way to their 2015-2016 classrooms for the first time, Wednesday provided yet another “new” to contend with: They weren’t at Briarwood.
As the Shawnee Mission School District prepares to level the current Briarwood building to make way for a new, modern facility, students are attending classes at the Broadmoor Technical Center located at 6701 W 83rd St.
First year principal Chris Lash said community support had been critical to preparing the facility to accommodate the nearly 600 students who will call the building home for the year. Volunteers from Hillcrest Covenant Church and the PTA as well as teachers and their relatives worked tirelessly to prepare the building to host elementary school activities.
“The whole community has rallied around getting Briarwood at Broadmoor ready to go,” he said. “It’s gone from boxes everywhere in the hallway and furniture pushed to one side to awesome classrooms that are a great learning environment.”
And while any move to a new facility is bound to be stressful for students and staff alike, the move to Broadmoor had many pleasantly surprised Wednesday. First grade teacher Laura Nunnink, starting her fifth year at Briarwood, said the space for her 20 students was more ample than it had been in the old building.
“We have a lot more room as far as our grade level,” she said. “I think we’ve all come together to make it work.”
As for her students, they seemed to be rolling with the punches as well. Lucy Roach and her parents said she was excited to be in the new building.
“The transition [to Broadmoor] has all gone pretty smooth,” said mom Morgan Roach. “There was kind of a lot of anxiety last year with it being her first year in school. But this year it’s mostly just excitement. She’s a pro.”
Lucy said she was ready to get back to class and start work on her favorite subject, math.
“I like that the classroom was bigger than my [kindergarten] one,” she said. “I’m very excited about meeting new friends.”