Montessori school set to move from Country Club Plaza to Prairie Village

03/05/2014 1:43 PM

03/06/2014 12:50 PM

“Welcome to the neighborhood!” Prairie Village planning commissioner Nancy Wallerstein exclaimed after the commission unanimously approved a special-use permit for Global Montessori Academy to take over the Cherokee Christian Church.

Ben Randell, a school parent who is managing the relocation to the former church near 75th Street and Belinder Avenue, said the academy, which has been operating from the basement of Unity on the Plaza for the past 30 years, had been looking for a space nearby for the past couple of years. At the same time, the church has been dying on the vine, according to member Don Kraft, who attended Tuesday’s night’s meeting. It once had 500 members but there are now 108, less than half of whom could be considered active, Kraft said.

So the church, which has been at its location for 61 years, had been considering dissolving when the Montessori school approached its leaders last year. Kraft said the church has been without a permanent minister for some time and would hold its final worship service June 8. The church is debt-free, Kraft said, and proceeds from the sale will be distributed to a variety of other Disciples of Christ institutions and/or ministries.

Randell said the academy plans to open the 2014-15 school year in the building.

The school is looking to rent out the sanctuary on Sundays, he said, so some church services will likely continue there.

“The church wanted to leave a legacy of education,” Randell said. “We found them at an opportune time.”

The Montessori school will have space for 110 children, as many as 45 of them kindergartners and the rest preschoolers, Randell said.

Prairie Village Shopping Center

The Planning Commission also approved a revised site plan for the Prairie Village Shopping Center after a representative of its management company said the Hen House Market had abandoned plans to expand the grocery store northward.

Kylie Stock of LegaC Properties said that Balls Food Stores, which owns Hen House, had decided not to pursue the previously approved expansion at this time “due to timing and cost.”

“They have been in discussions with the property group about doing an interior remodel, which we think would be an excellent idea,” she told the commissioners.

Stock said the Lane4 Property development group has sold its ownership interest in the Prairie Village Shops, which is now owned by a private-equity group called Prairie Village Retail Partners LLC. Lane4 continues to lease the center and LegaC manages it.

RV storage

The commissioners also discussed a proposed revision to recreational-vehicle storage rules, but took no action on the matter. A public hearing on the subject is likely to be held at the April 7 City Council meeting, staff members said.

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