In January 2015, Shawnee Mission patrons voted overwhelmingly in favor of a $233 million bond issue to fund a range of infrastructure projects for a school district with a backlog of maintenance issues and aging facilities.
Just shy of four years later, nearly all of that money has been spent — and the list of projects the funds have been used to complete is long.
So just where did the money go? Here’s a look:
- Six new elementary school buildings: Bond funds paid for the construction of six new elementary school buildings — Crestview, Trailwood, Briarwood, Benninghoven, Lenexa Hills and Brookwood.
Security enhancements: All schools got security camera systems installed and new entry systems that allow for remote door locking. The high school security upgrades include a secure entry point that allows school police to monitor surveillance camera feeds at neighboring schools.
- New Aquatic Center: The state-of-the-art competitive swimming facility that’s coming out of the ground at City Center in Lenexa will give the district a spot to host its own swim meets. Previously, it was renting space from Olathe Public Schools. An agreement with Johnson County Park and Recreation District will allow public use of the facility when it’s not being used by the school swim teams. The facility, which should open next year, costs $27.8 million.
- SM South District Stadium upgrades: The Shawnee Mission South District Stadium got a $6.5 million facelift that included installation of a new modern video scoreboard as well as a press box and updated concessions facilities.
Turf fields: The district used proceeds from the bond issue to modernize its athletic fields, installing two turf fields at each high school, one at each middle school, and another at the soccer complex adjacent to Westridge Middle School.
- Kitchen remodels: Tomahawk Elementary, John Diemer Elementary and SM East got remodeled kitchens.
- Gym floors: Nineteen elementary schools received new gym floors under the bond-funded projects.
- Media center upgrades and new furniture: All of the high schools had their libraries — now referred to as “media centers” — renovated and stocked with new furniture.
- Roofs: Nineteen schools had their roofs replaced.
Floors: All five high schools as well as Sunflower Elementary, East Antioch Elementary, Rosehill Elementary and Indian Hills Middle School had their floors updated.
- Asphalt: The bond issue funded asphalt update projects at 16 district facilities.
- HVAC/Electrical/Plumbing: More than 30 projects to update or repair HVAC, electrical and plumbing systems were funded by the bond issue.
Deputy Superintendent Kenny Southwick told the board of education earlier this month that of the $233 million from the bond issue, approximately $17 million remains — and it’s been allocated to a variety of projects. Among those are the renovation of the district’s operations and maintenance facility to accommodate law enforcement and emergency responder education through the district’s Project Blue Eagle signature program and the renovation of the Little Theatre at SM South.