Photo by Allison Stockwell
Construction on Briarwood began in September 2015, and the school moved to to Broadmoor Technical Center for 15 months. After more than a year of construction, students, teachers and staff of Briarwood Elementary School returned to their newly updated school in December 2016.
Chris Lash, Principle at Briarwood Elementary, said that the new Briarwood allows for more technology and collaboration, with everything from nontraditional classroom set-ups to 70-inch flat screens throughout the hallways.
“What we’ve been talking about since the renovations is that we want to build our dream school, not only physically but also instructionally,” Lash said.
Students are able to use their Apple products to connect to the various technology around the school, turning any space into a “mini classroom.” Classrooms are now oriented around teamwork, with large tables of different shapes allowing students to work together on a regular basis. The purpose of these innovative classrooms spaces is to prepare students for the communicative workforce they will be a part of in the future.
“We now have a physical building that matches our innovative teaching practices,” Lash said. “Having the flexible seating, the collaborative learning spaces and the technology integration is going to allow us to do things we couldn’t do before, and allow our kids to achieve more.”
The funding for Briarwood’s rebuild comes from a $223 million dollar bond proposed by the Shawnee Mission District in 2014, and approved by community voters in 2015. This bond goes towards various aspects of SMSD, improving each facility within the school district.
This payment bond also plans to pay for the remodeling of all five elementary schools in the district, so Briarwood is not alone in their revamping process. Trailwood, Rhein Benninghoven and Crestview Elementary have all received, or are in the process of receiving, complete renovations courtesy of this payment bond.