Wichita’s Metro-Boulevard High School moving to Northeast High’s building this fall

Northeast Magnet High School in Wichita, set to close this year when its program moves to a new building, will reopen in the fall as the new home of Metro-Boulevard Alternative High School.

District officials announced in a news release Thursday that “there has been some shifting in the walls” of a 1942 addition at Metro-Boulevard, 751 George Washington Blvd.

“The shifting is not a current safety hazard, but the cost to repair the building would be very expensive,” the district statement said.

“It was decided that it would be more cost-effective to permanently move the program to another building.”

Lisa Wyatt, Metro-Boulevard’s principal, told students and staff members about the change in meetings Thursday, said district spokeswoman Susan Arensman. A letter also was sent home to parents, she said.

Metro-Boulevard, one of two remaining alternative high schools in the Wichita district, has an enrollment of about 140 students. Its building, just northwest of Lincoln and Grove, is the old Willard Elementary School, which opened in 1927.

The other alternative school, Metro-Meridian, at Maple and Meridian, also has about 140 students. Metro-Midtown, 640 N. Emporia, closed in 2010 as a cost-cutting measure and now houses the Gateway program, which serves middle and high school students who have been suspended or expelled from their assigned school.

Alternative high schools are designed for students who have not been successful in a traditional school setting. The environment is generally smaller and more flexible than a traditional high school, and includes more one-on-one instruction. The schools also support students who need longer than four years to finish high school.

Northeast Magnet, 1847 N. Chautauqua, was one of five Wichita schools set to close this year as part of a new boundary plan. Its program is moving to a new high school being built in Bel Aire.

District leaders said as recently as last month that they didn’t have specific plans for any of the schools slated for closure. Northeast Magnet, an 84,600-square-foot facility that takes up most of a city block, was a particular concern for nearby residents who didn’t want a vacant building to become a neighborhood eyesore.

Metro-Boulevard’s students, staff and program will be the same when it reopens this fall in northeast Wichita, officials said in the statement. “It will just be in a different building.”

Said Wyatt, the principal, in the statement: “I know our students will quickly adapt to their new learning environment. I am very excited for this opportunity for our students.”