A new Pawnee Elementary School is under construction.
Students, educators, family members, and members of the community gathered on Tuesday, April 5 to break ground on the new facility being built at 9501 W. 91st St.
Superintendent Dr. Michelle Hubbard welcomed the attendees and talked about how a new facility will support educational success for students. Every element this building features was included with the district strategic plan objective in mind, she noted. The objective states that every student will have a personalized learning plan that will prepare them for college and careers with the interpersonal skills they need for life success.
“Providing our students with state-of-the-art facilities and resources and building flexible learning spaces that allow teachers to teach in innovative ways is key to ensuring we meet our goal,” Dr. Hubbard expressed.
Dr. Mary Sinclair, Board of Education President, shared details about the building’s new features with attendees. Students, parents, and community members worked with partners from Hollis + Miller and Newkirk Novak to design the school in the way that works best for the Pawnee community.
Pawnee’s new building will include:
● Flexible learning spaces for increased collaboration
● An outdoor learning space
● Walking path
● Spacious classrooms featuring natural light
“We are so pleased to break ground on a new facility that will continue to serve our students and encourage learning, discovery, and collaboration,” Dr. Sinclair added.
Students also helped lead the celebration. During the ceremony, the school’s Boy Scouts Pack 3258 conducted the flag ceremony while Girl Scouts Troop 1780 and Troop 2944 led the community in the Pledge of Allegiance. The Pawnee Elementary choir shared a school song called “Panther Pride.”
Fourth-grader Coralynn Moffitt said the ceremony warmed her heart and said the groundbreaking moment was her favorite part.
“Our school is already great and the new school will be greater,” Moffitt expressed. “Everyone here is really happy about it.”
As a parent who has had students attending Pawnee for eight years, Nicole Bivens, PTA President, said she is excited to see what is to come.
“It’s super important,” Bivens shared. “Our neighborhood and school make up a strong community. I’m really excited to see what this does for Pawnee.”
Pawnee is one of five elementary schools that will be rebuilt as part of a bond issue approved by voters in 2021. Construction began on rebuilds of Westwood View and John Diemer elementary schools in 2021. Rushton Elementary and Tomahawk Elementary are scheduled to be rebuilt next.
April Boyd-Noronha, the SMSD School Board member representing the West area where Pawnee is located, thanked community members for their support.
“From the bottom of all of our hearts, thank you,” she said. “I hope this building will be the spark of a new journey for students, providing a new environment, new surroundings that support a new level of learning for our students.”
For more information about the $264 million bond approved by Shawnee Mission voters, click here.