The Barstow School receives approval to turn old Leawood HyVee into new campus

Posted at 7:05 AM, Oct 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-17 08:05:37-04

LEAWOOD, Kan. — The Barstow School is wasting no time transforming an old grocery store into part of its campus.

Monday, the Leawood city council approved the plan, and Wednesday, the school shared renderings of how it plans to transform the outside of the building.

The HyVee near 122nd Street and State Line Road sat vacant for more than four years. But school leaders say the "blank slate" is well-suited for a school. For example, the brick façade of the grocery store is very similar to the brick on Barstow’s Missouri campus.

Changes the school has in mind right away are installing glass panels across the front of the building, moving the main entrances from the sides to the front of the building, and using the old pharmacy drive-thru as a drop-off location for an early childhood education center. 

The inside of the building will be made up of open, adaptable, modular-style classrooms which offer more flexibility than splitting the space into equally sized classrooms. 

"The sky is the limit right now. It is very, very rare in this business that you get to start from scratch and you have a blank slate to be able to go in and say what if," said Shane Foster, The Barstow School's president and head of school.

The challenge, Foster said, is designing a configuration that will successfully serve students for decades.

Barstow will keep its original Missouri campus open. It will use this space for STEM, art, and robotics classes. Foster said the expansion opens more possibilities up to students.

"It's one of those 3 a.m. ideas that suddenly started to take root in my brain. I drive by this area every single day on the way to work. I started thinking about 'what if.' That 'what if' started to become, 'Well let's do more than what if. Let's start talking seriously,'" Foster said. 

The Barstow School will split the construction into phases. It hopes to open phase one in the summer of 2019 and finish the entire project by the end of 2019.