Wichita’s first new high school since the late 1970s is taking shape.
A new Southeast High School, near 127th Street East and Pawnee, is scheduled to welcome students in August.
It will be the first new Class 6A high school to open in the district since Northwest High School in 1978.
The school, estimated to cost $60 million, will replace the current Southeast High at Lincoln and Edgemoor, which opened in 1957.
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“There has been great progress on the building,” said Bill Faflick, assistant superintendent for secondary schools. He is a 1980 graduate of Southeast and a former teacher and coach at the school.
Construction is more than halfway completed. Wichita’s mild winter has helped with the construction schedule.
The new school will feature Federal Emergency Management Agency safe rooms.
The building was designed by Schaefer Johnson Cox Frey Architecture and has 330,000 square feet divided into four main areas: a two-story academic wing, a two-story technology plaza, a fine arts area and a physical education and athletics complex.
“To have that kind of capacity is long overdue at Southeast,” Faflick said. “It is a big building, but we have a lot of kids.”
Southeast now has 1,600 students. The new school will be able to accommodate 2,000.
“We don’t expect to open with that many students,” Faflick said. “We know by building a new space, it will attract new kids and motivate them to perform at a higher level.”
The classrooms are bigger and have state-of-the-art technology. There will be smartboards, projectors and lab spaces in every room.
“We’ve created space to meet the needs of existing programs and new programs. We’ll have technology in every classroom,” Faflick said.
The new school will feature Federal Emergency Management Agency safe rooms in the wrestling room on the west side of the building and in a four-classroom section on the east side of the building. Each is being made to withstand tornadic winds and debris.
“It is one thing we don’t have now,” Faflick said. “It is a tremendous safety feature to take care of every student and staff should we have inclement weather.”
The new school also will feature eight new tennis courts that will be “replacing the worst in the state of Kansas,” Faflick said. “Gone will be the cracks and the surface marks that make it impossible to play tennis or even play roller hockey. We will have eight tennis courts that will be fantastic for kids.”
A six-lane swimming pool will replace the four-lane pool. The new gymnasium will seat 1,800 people. The auditorium will seat 900.
The new school will not have a new football stadium when it opens.
“We will have the ability to expand a stadium once funds become available,” Faflick said.