SMSD 2021 Bond: A year in review

The Shawnee Mission School District (SMSD) celebrates a year of progress since the community approved a $264 million bond issue. The bond, approved by voters in late January 2021, is supporting facilities updates across the district. It also allows the district to shift funding structures to hire additional secondary educators to better support student learning.

We are grateful to our community members who voted in support of the district’s goal to continue to be ranked among the finest school districts in the nation, employing exceptional educators who work in state-of-the-art facilities where learners achieve their full potential.

Here is a look at bond work underway over the last year:

 Elementary rebuilds

As a result of this bond, five elementary schools in the Shawnee Mission School District are being rebuilt. In 2021, construction began on Westwood View and John Diemer Elementary schools. Pawnee Elementary School groundbreaking will take place before the school year concludes.

 These rebuilt facilities were designed with the district’s strategic plan objective in mind: Each student will have a personalized learning plan that will prepare them for college and careers with the interpersonal skills they need for life success. School communities were engaged in the design process to make sure the new buildings would serve students well. Among the features included in these buildings are flexible learning spaces for student collaboration, LEED certification, outdoor classrooms and dining areas, and safety and security installed to district standards.

Looking ahead, the rebuilding process will begin on Rushton Elementary and Tomahawk Elementary in 2023.  

Facilities improvements across the district

Over the course of this year, upgrades also began on Shawnee Mission North and Shawnee Mission Northwest high schools, and Indian Woods middle school. Restrooms are being updated in each of these buildings. Shawnee Mission North is gaining a new weight room. Upgrades are being made to the Shawnee Mission Northwest commons area. Indian Woods is gaining an addition to the South part of its building to increase the amount of learning space.

 Summer 2021 was an especially busy time for bond work, with repair and replacement of roofs and asphalt taking place at multiple school buildings. Belinder, Overland Park, Prairie, Roesland, and Sunflower Elementary Schools received playground updates. Overland Park, Rising Star, Nieman, Ray Marsh, Santa Fe Trail, and Belinder Elementary Schools gained flooring upgrades. Hocker Grove and Westridge middle school Access to Comprehensive Education (ACE) classrooms were renovated. A large-scale update to the district’s security and video control surveillance platform took place at every building.

 In 2022, learning space upgrades are planned for Westridge Middle School, Horizons, Shawnee Mission East, and the Shawnee Mission Early Childhood Education Center.

Find more details about future project timelines on this page.

Hiring additional secondary educators

The bond approval has allowed the district to shift some custodial and maintenance salaries into the capital fund. This freed up money in the operating fund to hire additional secondary teachers in order to give teachers more time for collaboration and planning, and to better support student learning. The Strategic Plan recommended an increase of secondary certified staff by up to 78.5 Full Time Equivalent (FTE), to be carried out over the course of two years. 

The work continues

When community members approved the bond issue proposal, the district created  a checklist of items to complete. The Shawnee Mission School District will continue to provide updates on the fulfillment of bond projects on www.smsd.org (construction updates can be viewed here), during Board meetings, on Facebook and Twitter, and in the district Inside Shawnee Mission magazine.

We are grateful our community supports this bond, and in doing so, continues to support our mission to help every student achieve their full potential.