Ground broken for new K-8 school

WICHITA — Students in the far southeast corner of the Wichita school district will have a new K-8 school in the fall of 2012.

The district officially broke ground on the school at 143rd Street East and Pawnee this morning, in a chilly ceremony that included the planting of daffodil bulbs at the site.

"These flowers will bloom this spring, and they will remind us we have to be patient," said Superintendent John Allison. "The end result will be worth the wait."

The $16 million school is being built to relieve crowding in the district's southeast quadrant, particularly at Seltzer Elementary. It is the second new K-8 school to be funded by a $370 million bond issue that voters approved in 2008.

The school will feature three classroom wings, a library, an 800-seat auditorium, music suites and a gymnasium that will serve as a storm shelter. It is designed to eventually become a middle school as district growth demands.

GLMV Architecture designed the project. Straub Construction Co. is the contractor.

Building new schools means the district will need to redraw attendance boundaries for the much of the district's eastern half. Officials are studying demographic information and expect to present boundary options to board members this spring, Allison said.

Another committee, appointed by school board members, will consider naming options for the two school. The school's principal, staff, colors and mascot will be decided later.