Archive for Thursday, September 13, 2007

Question 1 would provide for land for future schools

September 13, 2007

The De Soto School District is looking for land.

If voters approve the $70.5 million bond referendum, the district will have $4 million to secure land for future use, including a 15-acre future elementary school site.

Currently, the district has 30 acres for two future elementary schools when the Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant develops. The district also has a site for a third high school on the Mill Creek Middle School campus.

Where the district decides to purchase land will be determined largely by the outcomes of the strategic planning process the district is supposed to go through in the next year, said Jack Deyoe, director of operations and planning.

Some sites the district has in mind include another elementary school in the city of De Soto.

Last spring a new sewer plant was completed to serve the city of De Soto and city officials expect future development to occur in the area of Edgerton Road and Kansas Highway 10.

Deyoe said Starside Elementary School already is crowded and if the population in De Soto continues to grow, a new school will be needed in the area to serve those children.

Another site the district is looking at is in Lenexa near Cedar Creek and 83rd Street.

In the past, the district has purchased sites years in advance to be used for future development, Deyoe said.

"Mize and Horizon sites were purchased 30 years before we used them," he said.

That is why the district is looking to build in areas that are not yet developed but are expected to be in the future, he said.

One advantage to shopping for sites early is the cost. If land is purchased from an individual instead of from a developer it can save the district a lot of money, Deyoe said. Purchasing early also offers the advantage of beating inflation as prices increase each year, Deyoe said.

Although the northeastern section of the district is where most of the growth is happening now, Deyoe said in the next 20 to 25 years it would just be an afterthought.

"We are an infant," he said. "We are a toddler just starting to walk. There are years of growth and development ahead."

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