The Harbinger Online

What’s Happening to Mission Valley?

Mission Valley Middle School, which was put on the market this summer, was bought for $4,435,000 by a group made up of RED Brokerage, RED Development and Tutera Investments.

The property was appraised at $3,210,000 before it was put on the market. The Shawnee Mission School District then put the property up for sale, but there was not a fixed sale price, taking offers from those who were interested in purchasing the land.

The 18-acre property that the empty school sits on will be re-zoned for mixed-use development. This means that there will be some retail, possibly some assisted living and residential, and also maybe some light service use.

“It’s not going to be big box,” Dave Claflin, Vice President of Marketing at Red Development, said. ”It’s not going to be something scary to the neighborhood.”

Claflin said that the group decided to buy the property because of it’s valuable location: right in the middle of an already developed area.

“It’s a great piece of land,” Claflin said. “This would be an ideal example of an urban infill.”

An urban infill is a piece of land that is in the middle of an already built-up area, but is not being used. Due to the neighborhoods, apartments and businesses surrounding Mission Valley, the developers already know the demographics of the area and what the residents would use and like the best.

Mission Valley, which had $3 million worth of remodeling and improvements done four years ago — $934,925 was spent on the library alone — is going to be demolished in order to make way for the new buildings.

With Mission Valley closed, the students who were attending or going to go the school now have to go to Indian Hills. Currently, 761 students are going to middle school at Indian Hills.

“It has gone very well this school year,” Associate Superintendent Gillian Chapman said. “Students report enjoying the additional students and everyone going to East together instead of having two middle schools.”

However, from a student perspective, there are some obstacles.

Evan Stolberg, the eighth-grade brother of seniors Carter and Abby Stolberg, went to Misson Valley last year, but is going to Indian Hills now due to the closing. According to Evan, classes tend to be big and there are just too many people at the school.

“Mission Valley was easier to navigate through, had better classes, and a lot less people,” Evan said. “It was just a lot more simple.”

Now, with Mission Valley out of the picture, remaining middle schools such as Indian Hills are going to have to step it up to accommodate the extra amounts of students. This means that all middle schools will add an auxiliary gym with a performing arts stage, classroom casework upgrades, MPR expansion, kitchen remodel, locker room renovation, CCTV upgrades and window replacements as well as additional infrastructure projects. Indian Hills will have the administration area remodeled with added security, additional classrooms, restroom and locker additions, a canopy addition, parking upgrades, an art room remodel, FACS rooms remodel, an additional music room and a library remodel and expansion.

The funds generated by selling the Mission Valley property will in turn help pay for these upgrades.

“The money from the sale of the property goes into the district’s capital outlay fund,” Chapman said. “Which is used to repair and maintain buildings and purchase equipment and furniture.”

Mission Valley may be gone, but the area will still potentially be used by those in the community. But instead of going to a school at 8500 Mission Road, this may mean going to a grocery store or stopping for a meal at a restaurant.

“The city of Prairie Village is a hundred percent behind the idea that this land has to be revenue producing, income-producing,” Claflin said. “So that means that it’s not going to be a park, it’s not going to be a big empty field. It’s going to generate revenue, sales tax, property tax, one way or another.”

Despite what has been seen as an ending in many ways, many new doors have also opened up. New businesses in the area means new jobs and new places for people to eat, shop and hang out at. Additionally, with the merge of students at Indian Hills, students are getting to know each other better before moving on to high school.

“I’ve met new friends,” Stolberg said. “And I get to know some of my friends who didn’t go to Mission Valley better.”

As for the new use of the Mission Valley property, Claflin believes that the new changes are going to be welcomed by those nearby.

“It’s going to be the kind of things that we think the neighbors in that area are going to be really glad to have right out their back door,” Clafin said.

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Stephen Cook

Stephen Cook is a senior at Shawnee Mission East High School. In addition to being a part of the Harbinger, he enjoys choir, debate, track, and playing the guitar. Read Full »

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