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Public gets close look at Southeast’s current facilities

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Monday, May 13, 2013, at 7:43 p.m.
  • Updated Sunday, March 2, 2014, at 3:14 p.m.

Members of the public toured Southeast High School on Monday as part of district leaders’ effort to gather input about whether they should renovate and expand the school, build one or both.

The Wichita school board has been debating the future of Southeast High and a new southeast quadrant high school, estimated to cost up to $54 million. Members intend to approve a plan June 24.

The new high school, one of six new schools proposed as part of the 2008 bond issue, was put on hold more than two years ago as the district dealt with budget cuts and a new boundary plan.

Also on hold is a $14 million expansion and renovation of Southeast High, 903 S. Edgemoor, which would include a new gym, fine arts facilities, athletic fields and expanded parking.

The district has not sold bonds for the proposed new high school but has bought property for it – 125 acres at 127th Street East and Pawnee. Officials say they also would need to acquire land to the west of Southeast High to complete the proposed projects there.

Superintendent John Allison has said operating a new high school in addition to Southeast would cost an additional $9 million to $10 million a year, money the district can’t afford unless funding increases or leaders make dramatic budget cuts.

For the same reasons, a new school at 53rd Street North and Rock Road, designed to address growth and relieve crowding at Heights High School, opened last fall as the new location for Northeast Magnet High School instead.

Wichita school leaders will continue to collect input during several meetings scheduled this month and during board meetings in June.

• On Wednesday from 6 to 7:30 p.m., residents can tour Northeast Magnet High School, 5550 N. Lycee. That school would serve as a model for a new southeast quadrant high school.

• A communitywide meeting will be held at Southeast High on May 21 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Residents will hear an update on bond construction and then break into small discussion groups to share thoughts and opinions. Child care will be provided, and Spanish and Vietnamese translators will be available.

• District officials also are collecting feedback online through a survey on the district’s website. The survey is available at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/southeastreview.

Reach Suzanne Perez Tobias at 316-268-6567 or stobias@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @SuzanneTobias.

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