Thursday, May 28, 2015

Grandview C-4 Looks Into Facility Usage

By Mary Wilson

The Grandview C-4 School District partnered with Applied Economics to perform a demographic study in order to project future enrollment numbers to determine whether or not Grandview will be at or above capacity.

"We combine these numbers with the current enrollment to see what we need to do, both in the immediate future and in the long term," said Assistant Superintendent of Finance and Operations Ann Cook.

The study has been ongoing for several months, and Rick Brammer and his team from Applied Economics have looked at the growth in the area the district serves, and the presentation at the May 21 school board meeting focused on the district’s facilities in particular. Applied Economics was escorted through every hallway in the district, and shown every available space in each building.

"That way we could see how all of the space is currently being utilized," said Brammer. "I think what we did in those walk-throughs was more important than the demographics. Just to look at how much space we have and how that space is being used was essential."

Current programming was considered in determining whether or not each facility was at recommended capacity levels. Out of community and enrollment projections, Brammer looks at what can be done in terms of facility usage. Part of the study looks at where students in the district are living in comparison to where their in-district school is located, and then determining whether or not those sub-districts need to be shifted to avoid crowding at any particular location.

"We really start with the nuts and bolts," said Brammer. "We start with the individual students and the demographics of all the different geographies that make up the attendance areas."

Each facility was reviewed to determine how many teaching stations are available total, and what is currently being used. Based on class size standards, it was determined that utilization of elementary school space is high, while both middle schools have ample space. Following are recommendations based on the facility study.

At Belvidere, the current utilization rate is eighty-nine percent, with around 40 available seats and 362 students. It was taken into consideration that Belvidere will receive new students in the future from the youth sports village development, though how many and how soon is unknown.

At Butcher-Greene, the current utilization rate is at eighty-nine percent, with about 50 seats available and 394 students. This school is projected to grow by about 80 students over the next 10 years.

Conn-West’s current utilization rate is at eighty-five percent with around 70 seats available and 399 students. This attendance area is not projected to grow beyond program capacity in the projection period. However, some additional increases are expected due to continued stabilization of the housing market.

Martin City’s current utilization rate is at ninety percent with about 45 seats available and 402 students. The attendance area is projected to continue to experience growth, especially later in the projection period. This, in addition to its isolated location and the potential need to relieve over-crowding at Butcher-Greene, may make adding classroom space at Martin City desirable. This could include the addition of a 4 to 6 classroom wing, perhaps to house pre-school and kindergarten, making additional space available for the other grades.

At Meadowmere, the current utilization rate is at ninety-five percent with 459 students, making it the largest and highest-utilized school in the District with only about 30 available seats. However, the attendance area is not projected to experience significant increases in enrollment. It may be desirable to restrict students from outside the attendance area and/or seek to relocate any special education programs there to avoid having to modify the attendance area at this time.

There is ample space at the middle school level with a utilization rate of 65 percent and nearly 500 available seats. The district could add a special program, such as STEM or a language emersion, at Grandview Middle School (with district-wide transportation) to entice more Martin City students to attend Grandview Middle School, making more space for the elementary students there. No changes were recommended at the high school level.

While it was determined that some locations are at capacity currently, it was not recommended to make any significant immediate changes. The district will continue to monitor the demographics of attendance areas and facility usage to determine the best course of action going forward.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Largest All-Turf Soccer Complex in the World Coming to Grandview

by Mary Wilson

The Grandview community will soon see a nearly $300 million project along Highway 150. A much-anticipated all-turf soccer complex, to be located between Byars and Kelley Roads, will be constructed, with games being played as early as August of 2016.
Shane Hackett, executive director of Heartland Soccer, the country’s largest soccer league, said that Heartland Soccer is scheduled to be the main tenant of the complex. The development will consist of 240 acres, currently zoned for residential housing, multi-family housing, commercial and retail.

“This is slated to be fifteen all-turf soccer fields,” said Hackett. “This is the synthetic turf that you can currently see at the Overland Park Complex and Swope Soccer Village.”
Hackett added that the benefit of the turf over grass is that the fields can be operated year-round. All of the fields will be lighted, and teams will have the opportunity to utilize the facility during the week, while games and tournaments will be played on the weekends.

“These fifteen fields will make this the largest all-turf soccer complex in the world,” said Hackett.

The fields, because of their size, can be used for multiple sports despite being soccer fields, including football and lacrosse.

The complex will also include a restaurant, hotel and retail component, catering to families while there. Due to the destination-type of events these soccer tournaments will bring, there will be a variety of eating establishments and retailers, making it a one-stop-shop for visiting families, as well as the Grandview community.
“It’s not uncommon to go and take my daughter to practice and I’m there for 90-minutes waiting, and I think it’d be great to go out and get something to eat or pick up some groceries,” said Hackett. “That’s what is being looked at here. This is truly a destination piece.”

Hackett added that some of the largest soccer tournaments in the nation are held in Kansas City, and this new complex will attract regional and national competitions. The fields themselves have been spoken for, according to Hackett, and leased out seven days per week with use beginning as early as August 1, 2016.

The Grandview community is invited to attend the official announcement for the development on Friday, May 8, at 4:30 p.m. at The View.

“After last week's announcement that Truman Corners is being redeveloped, it is great to inform Grandview residents that this major development is being announced this week,” said Grandview Mayor Leonard Jones. “The northern part of Grandview and the southern part of Grandview are being developed simultaneously. Great things are happening in Grandview.”