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Excelsior Springs School District moves forward with long range facility plan

August 3, 2018 – The Excelsior Springs School District plans to explore designs to build and improve facilities throughout the district.

In a July School Board workshop, the Excelsior Springs Board of Education met to discuss school building needs as the district begins to look toward making improvements in its facilities.  The school board contracted with incite Design Studio to conduct a comprehensive review of all facilities, which took about six months to complete. Incite Design Studio presented the board with a comprehensive review of building conditions throughout the district.  The evaluation consisted of site visits to evaluate every building’s mechanical condition, as well as their learning space efficiency and classroom utilization.  The review also included data from surveys of students, staff and administration.

This tiger has greeted Lewis students for years.

Aaron Harte, architect and senior associate at incite Design Studio, said the results from the completed comprehensive review show Excelsior Springs Schools need to add space for about 1.5-grade levels of classrooms because of student growth. In addition, incite Design Studio identified necessary updates in existing buildings due to age and use.

The school board discussed possible solutions for replacing the 70-year-old Lewis Elementary and making updates to the back wing of Westview Elementary.

“I’d like to see a phased approach that improves all of our buildings.  We want to make sure that all of our students benefit from building updates,” said Tray Harkins, school board president.

During the discussion, the board discussed options for replacing Lewis with a new building.  One, a new elementary could be built either in the same location or on land the district owns on Wornall Road and Lodwick Lane, just west of the Middle School.  If a new Early Childhood Center with a K-2 building were built on the vacant land, Westview could be converted to a K-2 building and a new third-fifth grade building could be built where Lewis currently sits. But there were numerous options presented as possible solutions, which also included updates to Elkhorn Elementary and the Middle and High Schools.

“While we recognize that there are many options moving forward, let’s first make sure that we engage our community and our parents and staff to see what they want to see in moving forward.  We plan to survey the community and ensure that whatever course we take that it is something that meets all of their wants and needs,” Superintendent Dan Hoehn said.

“This is a community school district. As such, the input from our community about what they’d like to see is really the next step before any decisions should be made about what or where to build,” Jaret Tomlinson, deputy superintendent, said. “We also want to ensure that any plans we come up are done so without the need to raise taxes in the community.

Harte said because the district has managed its finances well, all of the options presented are available for building new facilities with a “no tax increase bond” that could go to voters as soon as April of 2019.

At the conclusion of the workshop, the school board asked Hoehn to develop a Community Leadership Team to investigate what options would best meet the needs of the staff and community before moving forward with any one specific plan.  Hoehn also said he would begin the process for sending out surveys electronically to gather information from multiple stakeholders throughout the district and community.

By Standard Staff • StandardStaff@leaderpress.com

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One Response to Excelsior Springs School District moves forward with long range facility plan

  1. Just a parent . Reply

    August 3, 2018 at 8:21 am

    I would be in favor of expansion or building new at lewis with the condition the the gym is kept and built into the new school. Most of the parents have so many memories of watching my kids play on basketball there, or watching their kids graduate elementary school. It holds a certain sentimental value and I believe it still has some life left in it

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