A $40 million bond issue to build a new technology academy and innovation campus in Lee’s Summit is now in the hands of voters.
The Lee’s Summit school board agreed unanimously last week to place the measure on the April 7 ballot. If passed, it would not result in a tax increase.
With the bond money, the district would contribute about $17.5 million to build a new facility for Summit Technology Academy and the Missouri Innovation Campus. A little more than $21 million is marked for improvements and deferred maintenance at current district schools. The remaining funds would be designated for contingencies.
“This is a big project,” said school board member Bill Baird. “We’re all excited about the magnitude of this. It’s cutting-edge.”
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The current Summit Technology Academy/Missouri Innovation Campus facility totals 42,000 square feet in leased space at 777 N.W. Blue Parkway.
The current lease has favorable terms but ends in 2018.
The district and the University of Central Missouri have a deal whereby the university would pay 60 percent of the cost to acquire land for the new facility and build it. The district would own the building after 20 years and then lease space back to the university for its Lee’s Summit campus.
A location has not been announced.
The Missouri Innovation Campus is a highly acclaimed partnership involving the school district, UCM, Metropolitian Community College-Longview and local businesses.
Students enroll in their junior year of high school and take classes at the district’s Summit Technology Academy. Upon graduation from high school, students will also have associate degrees from MCC-Longview. They can then complete their final two years of study at UCM. The business partners offer paid internships along the way.
The arrangement allows students to obtain a bachelor’s degree only two years after graduating from high school. It’s been seen as a way to reduce the cost of higher education and enable students to graduate debt-free.