On Thursday evening, Westwood City Council unanimously approved a site plan for the new Westwood View Elementary building, a project related to the $ 264 million bond issue recently approved by Shawnee Mission.
Shawnee Mission will build a new school at 4935 Belinder Avenue, the former site of the Entercom radio tower that the district purchased in 2016.
Westwood Mayor David Waters said the city’s strong identification with elementary school means the new building is not just about ensuring children have the best possible education, but is about the future of the Westwood community.
“It’s a community affair,” Waters said. “This is not a piece of property, it really is the heart and soul of our community – and the future of our community in many ways.”
Site map details
Crews have already started demolishing the old radio station, and construction of the new school building is expected to start in the summer of 2021.
The district expects it to be completed by December 2022, when students at Rushton Elementary School will move into the current Westwood View building about a block from the old Entercom site while their school is in operation. rebuilt.
Here are some details of the Westwood view Sitemap, as stated by the district architects at the meeting:
- Several creative outdoor spaces including three outdoor classrooms and a patio next to the cafeteria for lunchtime visitors.
- The parking lot, which is on the edge of Belinder Avenue, will be about three feet lower than Belinder. It is an effort to be a conscious neighbor and block surrounding residents from the light and noise that will be coming from the school.
- Westwood View will accommodate approximately 550 students, nearly double the capacity of the current building.
- Two soft play areas (like a grass play area with fall protection) and a hard play area that will likely be asphalt.
- A field that can accommodate soccer and other sports and activities.
- The gymnasium will be designed to withstand winds of 250 miles per hour and will also have an area where students and staff can retreat in the event of a tornado or other extreme weather conditions.
Residents’ concerns about traffic
Two residents, Jan Kyle and Jennifer Merrill, expressed concern about the additional traffic an elementary school would bring on Belinder Avenue.
Kyle said that while she and her husband voted in favor of the bond measure that the new Westwood View was a part of, they don’t think it’s owned by the old Entercom site.
They argued that he should have gone to Rainbow Boulevard on the former site of Westwood Christian Church.
Likewise, Merrill said she saw traffic increase on Belinder when a car is parked on the street – which she said residents do frequently as most of the driveways to homes in the area are the width of ‘one car.
As Rushton students make their way to the current school building in 2023, Merrill said she was concerned about the impact of traffic from two elementary schools on the community of Westwood.
“I’m very, very concerned about the foresight of what this will create in our little community,” Merrill said. “I’m all for school, as I said before. I am less than happy to have the parking lot and all the round trip traffic flow to Belinder.
Board member Jeff Harris said a traffic study had been conducted on the site and concluded that there would be no issues with the placement of Westwood View.
While there are likely to be changes with the new location, Harris said the pandemic has proven humans can adapt – and he has confidence in city staff to stay adaptable as challenges arise in the city. during this process.
Other council members shared similar sentiments, including council member Jason Hannaman who said that while he was upset he and the city could not please all residents, the same concerns would arise in any other place.
The city council unanimously approved the site plan, on the condition that an analysis of the mandates at 49th Terrace and Belinder Avenue be carried out on the first fall of the school’s opening.
The analysis will determine whether additional measures such as a crosswalk for child safety need to be implemented at the intersection.