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Prairie Village to build new community center?

The City of Prairie Village has decided to spend over $50,000 dollars on a study to determine if Kansas City Kansas needs another community center. But is it worth it?

Over the next five months, 360 Architecture, the same company that designed the Sprint Center and Power and Light District, will conduct a feasibility study that will help the city of Prairie Village decide if it wants to build a community center similar to the Matt Ross community center in Overland Park. City officials say they outsourced the job to 360 Architecture because of their technical know how in the industry.

“What are people doing in Chicago, in California, in community centers? [The city of Prairie Village] could call them, but a firm can do it quicker and be more cost effective.” Chris Engel, Assistant to the Prairie Village City Administrator, said.

The study is designed to see what services the community center would need to provide, such as athletic machines and an indoor pool. The creation of a community center would affect existing businesses such as the YMCA.

East junior Adam Simmons,who frequently plays basketball at both the Sylvester J. Powell Community Center in Mission and Matt Ross Community Center, says he wouldn’t change to a community center in Prairie Village unless it’s free, even if his friends went.

“It’s easiest for me to get to Sylvester Powell, and my family [are already] members, so why would I change?” Simmons said.
Prairie Village will pay for most of the study, $36,500, but won’t face the $56,500 burden by itself. The Johnson County Park and Recreation District and Shawnee Mission School District have also decided to partner the study and will each chip in $10,000, or enough for SMSD to buy 200 new Chemistry textbooks.

City officials say they asked for financial support from SMSD, who agreed to help, the district being especially interested in a large natatorium with a 50 meter pool and plenty of seating.

“A true community center looks into all the aspects of a community, be it a library, or like in this case a school district.” Engel said.

Even if the study supports the construction of a community center, Prairie Village would still have to decide if it has the funds to support such a project. From there, it would then take at least several years to get construction under way.

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Andrew Simpson

Andrew has just started his second year on the Harbinger. While mainly working on the print staff, Andrew still takes the time to anchor broadcasts. Read Full »

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