By the time Raymore-Peculiar students arrive back to school Wednesday, they’ll be greeted with the newly-renovated Raymore-Peculiar High School as well as a former elementary school converted to the Shull Early Learning Center.
Dozens of people joined the district to celebrate the completion of its two major projects in two ceremonies on Aug. 17.
At Raymore-Peculiar High School, which will house students in grades 9-12, the district expanded the building by about 130,000-square-feet. New construction in the expansion of the high school includes a two-story addition at the north of the current building, a dedicated area for freshman core classes, a new media center, a culinary arts classroom, a renovated kitchen and cafeteria area, additional space for fine arts and performing arts classes and relocation of some classrooms and offices.
One major addition at the high school also included construction of a storm-resistant concrete dome structure on the east side of the building. Inside the dome is a gym, restrooms and locker rooms. It’s also built to serve as a shelter in the event of severe weather.
Also as part of the changes this year, Shull Elementary has been converted to Shull Early Learning Center, a site for early childhood programs. The building is named after Don Shull, former longtime superintendent of Raymore-Peculiar. A highlight of the changes at Shull Early Learning Center included an expanded playground, made possible in part by donations from the Raymore-Peculiar Public School Foundation and the Peculiar Charitable Foundation. At the annual Gala fundraiser of the foundation, attendees donated $9,250 toward extra equipment for the playground.
Superintendent Kari Monsees, addressing two crowds at Shull Early Learning Center and Raymore-Peculiar High School on Aug. 17, took time to thank board members, staff, contractors and donors for their help in the projects.
Monsees said the completed projects marked the end of a three-year process. In the fall of 2014, he said the district had developed a long-range facility plan.
The renovations come more than a year after voters approved a $27 million bond issue. The measure passed with nearly 80 percent of the vote in April 2016.
“It’s been a huge undertaking for this district,” Monsees said, pointing to the reorganization of the district this year. The district has about 6,000 students. “With this addition that allows (North High School) to go back to being a middle school again, and from there, we’re able to reorganize all buildings for school so that we have space now in every school for growth here in our community. We expect to have a record enrollment again this year, we continue to see growth in our community.”
For more information about the bond issue projects, visit the district’s website.