New Construction

Kansas District Seeks to Build Second Middle School

Auburn-Washburn Public Schools USD 437 near Topeka, Kan., is preparing for a bond election that could provide the district with funds to build a second middle school. The existing Washburn Rural Middle School is currently the largest middle school in the state that serves students in grades 7–8.

The district has owned a tract of undeveloped land near Mission Township Fire Station since 2007 in preparation for the need to expand, according to local news.

“This is a really exciting opportunity for Auburn-Washburn, but it’s also a really necessary opportunity,” said USD 437 School Board Member Tara Dimick. “It’s one we need to have.”

District Superintendent Dr. Scott McWilliams told local news that the district wants to integrate sixth-grade students into middle school by building another facility. “Our elementary schools are Pre-K through sixth. However, by transitioning those sixth-graders up, we would have a better capacity to meet the needs of our Pre-K through five elementary schools,” he said. “The land is purchased; it is sitting ready to go for new construction if our bond election passes.”

The bond election was first announced in November 2021 as a means of implementing a proposed strategic five-year plan. The proposition is now up for a vote after more than 30 strategic planning and almost 500 stakeholder group meetings during the last two years.

This year’s bond election features two ballot proposals. The first proposal requests up to $145 million for the new middle school and associated renovations across the district, including adding early childhood classrooms and re-purposing elementary spaces, safety upgrades and maintenance, and adding a new innovative center to the high school.

The second proposal requests up to $15 million to add a pool to the high school for use by the school’s swim team, physical education classes, special needs classes and the community at large.

Ballots will be mailed to registered voters on March 23 and are due into the county’s election office on April 12.

About the Author

Matt Jones is senior editor of Spaces4Learning. He can be reached at [email protected].