Pawnee Starts School Year with New Building

Pawnee Starts School Year with New Building
Shawnee Mission School District

The first week with students was a shining moment for the 2023-2024 school year in Shawnee Mission! It was a week full of many first experiences — especially for Pawnee Elementary School. The week marked the first days in a newly rebuilt elementary school facility. 

Just prior to school starting, Pawnee held an open house so students, educators, and family members could have a first look and tour the building. Paws, the school panther mascot, cut a blue ribbon for a cheering crowd. Afterwards, all attendees were able to see the school’s flexible learning spaces, outdoor learning space, and spacious classrooms with natural light. 

Principal Kari Otero said conversations began quickly with teachers who are inspired by all of the ways they will be able to innovate learning in the new spaces. 

“It is the most amazing building and we are so lucky to have this space,” Otero expressed. 

The building also has new furniture and bleachers for the gym, a feature Coralynn Moffitt, a Pawnee sixth grader, described as a good touch. 

“It’s very big and modern and I love that so much about it,” Moffitt added. 

This semester, Cameron Manfield is student teaching at Pawnee, more than a decade after attending Pawnee as a student. He said the first look at the new school was “a jaw-dropper.” 

“I’m blessed to have my student teaching at a brand-new school that is also the school I went to when I was younger,” he shared. “It’s extremely well done and amazing to walk through the halls again.” 

This elementary rebuild is part of a $264 million bond approved by Shawnee Mission voters in January of 2021. Community support throughout the entire process was an important part of getting students and staff to opening day, according to secretary Debbie Garren. 

“Our community supported us every inch of the way,” she shared. “It was well-felt and we are very excited to be here.”