On a windswept field that seemed a fitting home for Golden Buffaloes, Wichita school district leaders on Monday officially launched the construction of the new Southeast High School.
“What a glorious day,” superintendent John Allison told the crowd of students, faculty, alumni and others who gathered at the site of the new school, near 127th Street East and Pawnee.
“Honestly, I wasn’t quite sure this day would come. But it’s here.”
The new Southeast High, estimated to cost $60 million, will be the first Class 6A high school built in the district since Northwest High School in 1978. Northeast Magnet High, which opened in 2012 in Bel Aire, was designed and built as a smaller, Class 5A school.
The new Southeast will accommodate 1,800 students and will have all the amenities of most modern comprehensive high schools, including a football stadium, gymnasium, swimming pool, tennis courts and athletic fields.
“We may be changing our address, but the traditions will not change,” said Lori Doyle, principal at Southeast. “We are and will always be the Golden Buffaloes.
“Our motto is ‘The best of the best,’ ” she said. “We have the best students and the best staff, and in two years, we will have the best facilities.”
Southeast’s pep band played the school’s fight song on Monday, and the Southeast Madrigals sang both verses of the alma mater. Those singing and clapping along included several former principals and graduates.
Kathy Busch, a Kansas Board of Education member, graduated from Southeast in 1969 and was the school’s principal for the 2004-05 school year. She noted that a page in her senior yearbook had raved about “a modern typing room being added to the business department.”
“Some of the students here probably don’t even know what a typewriter is,” Busch said. “But that was high-tech in 1969.”
Scotty Zenner, a Southeast sophomore, will be starting his senior year when the new school opens in the fall of 2016.
“It’s kind of emotional, kind of dramatic,” Zenner said after the ceremony. “It’s just a good feeling that this will be where we will be walking our senior year. It’s a good feeling.”