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First look at Barstow's plans to transform old Hy-Vee into largest public STEAM facility in USA

Posted: 7:03 AM, May 06, 2019
Updated: 2019-05-06 08:03:06-04
barstow idea space

LEAWOOD, Kan. — The Barstow School plans to bring what could be the largest public STEAM lab in the United States to Leawood, Kansas. The independent school in Kansas City, Missouri, wants to open the facility to students at public and private schools all across the metro. STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, arts and math.

Last year, Leawood city council gave The Barstow School approval to renovate an old Hy-Vee grocery store near 122nd and State Line. Plans for the space have evolved.

The building will now be called IDEA*Space, where IDEA stands for innovation, discovery, entrepreneurship and arts. 41 Action News is the first to see animated renderings from Hollis + Miller Architects showing the layout of the building.

The Barstow School will not move any students to this building on a permanent basis. Instead it will use the IDEA*Space for special programming. The school will also allow other school districts or private schools to use the space.

"It's incumbent upon everybody who educates children, anyone who works with children, to provide them with opportunities they don't currently have. It doesn't matter whether you go to a private school, an independent school, a public school, a parochial school, every child has got to have equal opportunity to educational resources," said Shane Foster, head of school for The Barstow School.

The main attraction of the IDEA*Space is a Maker + Innovation Space. It's a series of workshop-style areas where students of all ages can transform their ideas into reality.

"[This facility will] help every student realize their fullest potential. We want them to see themselves as complete people. All the areas of the building hit a different part of a child's development, hit a different part of a person's interests," explained Kellye Crockett, the director for external operations at The Barstow School.

The facility will also have the region's first e-sports facility for high school students who compete in gaming competitions. A blackbox theater where students or local companies can put on productions. An athletic component will include dance/yoga studios and multi-purpose courts indoor. An early education center will care for children as young as six weeks.

The school is also working to partner with companies in the Kansas City region to offer specific programs to teach students job skills.

Crockett said the IDEA*Space should open by the end of 2020.