Shawnee Mission formally announces intent to build aquatic center in Lenexa

Dr. Kenny Southwick said the collaboration with the city of Lenexa will provide an important resource to district families.
Dr. Kenny Southwick said the collaboration with the city of Lenexa will provide an important resource to district families.

An arrangement that has been months in the making formally came to fruition this week.

The Shawnee Mission Board of Education on Monday unanimously approved a memorandum of understanding that will bring a new multi-million dollar, state-of-the-art competition aquatic facility to the Civic Center development near 87th Street and Penrose Lane in Lenexa.

With construction funds coming from the $223 million bond issue approved by district voters in January, the project had initially been slated for the SM South campus. But when Lenexa officials approached the district about the possibility of moving the project within their city limits this summer, the district announced it was considering a change in plans as a way to reduce the total cost of the project. There had been some talk that the district was considering the Brookridge Country Club site in Overland Park as a possible location for the center as well.

Presenting the memorandum of understanding to the board Monday, Deputy Superintendent Kenny Southwick said the agreement represented an important form of cooperation between the district and other jurisdictions.

“[I want to express] how important it is for us to collaborate with cities and organizations and school districts so we make this the very best place for our people to live and for our kids to get educated and our families to be healthy,” he said.

In addition to the aquatic center, the Civic Center project will include a 100,000 square foot recreation center, Lenexa’s new city hall, a public market and the new location of the Lackman branch of the Johnson County Public Library.

“With your investment as well, this is going to be a very special place to serve the public, the residents of our community, and a lot of people coming to the swimming meets and enjoying what we have in Johnson County,” said Lenexa City Administrator Eric Wade.

Under the agreement, the city will donate land valued at $1,020,000 to the district to use as the site of the new facility. The aquatic center will be designed to house statewide and regional swimming meets, with a 50 by 25 meter pool and competition diving wells. The facility will be required to include spectator seating for at least 1,500 individuals with parking to accommodate them.

District project managers will work on a design plan for the center in the coming months, with an anticipated presentation date to the city by March 2016. Vertical construction on the project is expected to begin by July 2017.