Early Shawnee Mission facilities proposal calls for rebuilding Pawnee, Rushton and John Diemer Elementaries

Jay Senter - September 11, 2019 11:37 am
Pawnee Elementary is one of three buildings targeted for reconstruction in the district’s early facilities review.

information presented at the first meeting of the district’s new Facilities Task Force on Tuesday suggested Pawnee, Rushton and John Diemer Elementaries could all be slated for demolition and reconstruction in the coming few years.

The task force is fleshing out a detailed analysis of the district’s current facilities, and developing a plan for what projects could be funded by a new bond issue if it were to be approved by district voters.

At present, the district is considering a possible $177 million bond issue in 2020. An issuance at that level would not require an increase in the tax rate needed to pay off the bonds using local option budget funds. Under Kansas law, such locally raised funds cannot be allocated to “in the classroom” expenses like teacher salaries, and can only be used on capital expenditures like facilities projects.

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The three buildings identified in the information presented Tuesday are among the oldest elementary buildings in the district. Pawnee and John Diemer were both built in 1965. Rushton was built in 1954.

Additional projects proposed for the near term facilities list include:

  • Updating the Broadmoor facility with remodeled restrooms, updated flooring and a renovated roof
  • Remodeling the career and technical campus for use as the site of future signature programs
  • Renovating parts of high school and middle school buildings
  • Upgrading roofs, HVAC systems, asphalt installations and lighting throughout the district
  • Upgrading and supporting the district’s current security technology
  • Replacing projectors used for classroom displays with television monitors
  • Rebuilding ADA compliant playground and fall zone installations

Facilities staff also identified projects that would likely need to be addressed in the mid-term, suggesting the district may look to undertake another bond issue in 2026 to fund a list of projects that would include the reconstruction of Belinder and Tomahawk Elementaries. Belinder was built in 1960. Tomahawk was built in 1957. That bond issue could be for around $125 million, and again would not require a tax rate increase.

The facilities task force has a series of additional meetings planned through mid-November to further explore needs across the district and develop a more detailed plan and budget.

In January 2015, Shawnee Mission patrons voted overwhelmingly in favor of a proposed $233 million bond issue, which directed local tax dollars to a host of infrastructure projects.  Among the projects completed with the proceeds from the 2015 bond issue were the construction of six new elementary schools (Crestview, Trailwood, Briarwood, Benninghoven, Lenexa Hills and Brookwood), major security updates to all school buildings, and the soon-to-be-opened aquatic center in Lenexa.

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