The new Catholic high school scheduled to open in the fall of 2015 in Lee’s Summit is still on track.
A groundbreaking ceremony for St. Michael the Archangel High School was held recently on the 80 acres that will house the school near Lee’s Summit Road and Strother Road (83rd Street), just south of Lee’s Summit Airport.
The site includes a 7.5-acre pond and straddles the border between Lee’s Summit and Kansas City. The school will serve an even bigger population of students from throughout eastern Jackson County, according to Our Lady of the Presentation School Principal Jodi Briggs.
“We are very excited about the new high school opening out here,” Briggs said of the $30 million project. “With the growth out here in eastern Jackson County, especially in the Lee’s Summit area, we are very excited to have a Catholic high school that is close to us. It will be great for Catholic education out here.”
Bill Brown, vice-chairman of the Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council, said the economic impact of the school will be felt in a variety of ways.
“It’s an almost $30 million high school and that’s going to reverberate just in terms of construction jobs and the materials and the people that help support that,” Brown said. “When you take a look at somewhere between 500 and 550 students projected out there and coming in and out of our community everyday, it’s hard to put a number of what kind of purchases will be made but certainly there’s going to be gas, and lunch (sales) and those kind of things.”
Brown added that St. Michael will provide a major presence in an already improving area.
“When that Strother interchange got put in after a lot of effort a few years ago, I believe it’s starting to pay dividends,” he said. “Between the Lee’s Summit Road improvements and now the Strother interchange there at Interstate 470, you’re beginning to see development popping up over in that direction.
“I think the proof is in the pudding that those types of investments in infrastructure eventually pay off by opening up land for development.”
Steve Hilliard of the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph said the school will have a capacity to serve 500 to 700 students. The first phase of construction will hold 500 to 550 students and expansion plans project a maximum of 700 students.
Fundraising will continue once construction gets underway in September, Hilliard said.
“We’re still hoping to open in the fall of 2015,” said Hilliard, diocesan director of strategic planning. “There are a lot of things we have to do to get there. We’ve got to continue to raise money, but we still do hope to open sometime in the fall of 2015.”
The new school will serve students now attending Archbishop O’Hara High School.