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Park Hill to break ground on new middle school with plans for new elementary school

Posted: 7:29 AM, Oct 23, 2017
Updated: 2017-10-23 12:51:40-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Leaders at the Park Hill school district were scheduled to break ground on the district's fourth middle school Monday afternoon. 

The school will be on Northwest 56th Street, west of I-29. It should open by fall of 2019. 

An assistant superintendent said enrollment for the Northland district has grown for 34 consecutive years. That growth spurred the district to create a long-range plan. Over the next three years, the district will break ground on this middle school, an elementary school, a new building for support and transportation services and will also expand programs at Park Hill High School. 

Assistant Superintendent Dr. Paul Kelly said a voter-approved bond initiative will pay for the upgrades. In April, voters decided to keep a tax in place for the third time since 2006. The amount of the tax did not increase. 

Kelly said by building new facilities, the district won't have to lease space, which will save money. 

"By being able to build these and invest capital dollars into those, we're able to free up operating dollars to run these programs and to add staff," Kelly explained. 

Currently the district breaks up middle schoolers by sending all 6th grade students to one facility and combining 7th and 8th grade students at two other schools. Once construction crews complete the new middle school, all four schools will serve 6th, 7th and 8th graders. 

"There will be some transition that will go with that," Kellly said. "Not just with our parents and students, but with our staff, because that will be a relatively new phenomenon to have all three grades in our middle schools."

Kelly also said the district will redraw boundaries for which schools serve which neighborhoods. That process will begin next fall and should be complete by spring of 2019. 

Monday's groundbreaking was scheduled for 1 p.m.