KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City Public Schools closed Lincoln Middle School seven years ago, but it will reopen the school to relieve overcrowding at the award-winning Lincoln College Preparatory High School located across the street.
Lincoln Middle was one of 21 buildings closed in 2010 as part of the district's "right-sizing" initiative.
On Thursday, the day after the school board voted 6 - 2 to reopen the school, classrooms were empty and dusty. The district is currently using the building to store furniture and equipment.
District spokesperson Ray Weikal said the old school building has not sat empty.
"There have been people in the building because we have had support staff located here like maintenance, operations, security, and engineering," said Weikal.
KCPS has seen a steady decline in enrollment and state funding since 2009. In fact, the state foundation formula shows a $40 million reduction. However, Lincoln College Prep has been able to maintain its numbers and reputation.
"We looked at our data and noticed that we're turning kids away. We're noticing that there's a waiting list,” said KCPS Superintendent Dr. Mark Bedell.
In August 2019, Lincoln College Preparatory High School will house grades 9 through 12, while grades 6, 7 and 8th will occupy Lincoln Middle School.
The district has projected that reopening Lincoln Middle will cost up to $16.3 million for design and construction work. They'll need another $2.5 million for staffing and operations.
"About 1.4 million was already allocated from the sale of some certificates last year. And we have a fund balance. We have a healthy fund balance that we're able to pull the remainder of the funds out to be able to get this building started." said Bedell.
Bedell said they will also seek grant funding to help get the building ready for students.