Ask someone to meet you at Central and Maize, and they likely will head to the west Wichita intersection – where Central Avenue meets Maize Road – not the one about six miles north in the suburb of Maize.
“There’s just a lot of confusion,” said Becky Bouska, deputy city administrator in Maize. “We had lots of missed 911 dispatches, so we felt that, safety-wise, it was a concern.”
Beginning July 1, Central Street in Maize will become Academy Avenue to eliminate the confusion.
More than a year ago, residents and business owners along Central Street in Maize were asked to submit suggestions for renaming the street, Bouska said. Options included Church Street, Redbud Avenue, Old Town Boulevard and Veteran Street.
Several suggestions related to schools – Education Avenue, Learning Lane and Yellow Bus Road – because three Maize schools and the district office are on Central Street.
Academy Avenue is an homage to the city’s first school, Maize Academy, which opened in 1894 as a two-year preparatory school for Fairmount College, now Wichita State University, Bouska said. The school burned down in 1910 and was never rebuilt.
Crews will replace street signs on July 1, Bouska said. The city worked with Sedgwick County Geographic Information Services to make sure the street name is updated for emergency dispatchers and GPS devices, including sites such as MapQuest and Google Maps, she said.
The Maize school district office and three schools – Pray-Woodman Elementary, Maize Central Elementary and Complete High School Maize – will have new addresses after the change. The district office, now 905 W. Central, will be 905 W. Academy Ave.
Lori O’Toole Buselt, spokeswoman for the Maize district, said the district plans to inform patrons of the change through e-mails and newsletters, particularly before and during enrollment this summer.
“My concern is that parents might get confused initially, which is why we waited (until the school year ended) to make the change,” Bouska said. “I know the school district is working diligently to keep them posted and in the loop.”