Prairie Village approves 7,600-square-foot addition to SM East — Here’s what it will be used for

Shawnee Mission East addition

The Prairie Village Planning Commission on Tuesday approved a 7,600 square foot, two-story addition to Shawnee Mission East. It will feature multipurpose learning space, two classrooms and outdoor learning space. Above, a rendering of the addition shows a blue paneled wall next to a wall of windows with the silhouette of a Lancer on it. The windows will face 75th Street on the north side of the building. Image via city documents.

The Prairie Village Planning Commission on Tuesday approved a 7,600-square-foot, two-story addition to Shawnee Mission East.

Why it matters: The addition will add multipurpose learning space, two classrooms, storage and an outdoor learning space to SM East, according to city documents.

The addition will be located in the courtyard area on the north side of the high school, between two wings of the building, facing 75th Street.

The new structure addition will only be partially visible from the street due the grade of the land.

SM East from a bird's eye view
The new addition will sit between the two wings of the building pictured above, south of the sidewalk (or above the sidewalk from this view.) This is the north side of the building facing 75th Street, with southbound Mission Road able to be seen on the far left. Image via city documents.

The details: Renderings of the proposed addition show a blue paneled wall adjacent to a large, glass windowed front that looks into an interior atrium.

The large window will include a faint silhouette of a Lancer, the school’s mascot.

Outside, there will be a terrace of steps with native gardens, according to the plan.

Dwayne Cash, an architect representing the Shawnee Mission School District, told the commission on Tuesday that the terrace is designed to be a gathering space.

Additionally, since four trees are being torn down, the district intends to replant a total of eight trees.

Accessibility concerns: Commissioner Nancy Wallerstein expressed concerns with the accessibility of the outdoor space.

Wallerstein confirmed with Cash that students or staff in wheelchairs who are at the top of the steps outside would have to go back through the building in order to get to the bottom of the steps outside.

Cash said the top outdoor space and bottom outdoor space are accessible individually, and there are similar concerns inside the school.

Individuals in wheelchairs who want to get from the lower floor to the second floor need to take an elevator because the ramps aren’t ADA accessible, he said.

Wallerstein said she understands that, but said she had worries about about not providing ADA accessibility on new construction.

Cash responded that a consultant is ensuring the addition is being built in compliance with federal law.

“I caution you, because we do have some great advocates in Prairie Village who will be looking at this I’m sure,” Wallerstein said.