The Barstow School, Kansas City’s oldest co-ed private college prep school, is expanding across the state line into Kansas.
The school, at 11511 State Line Road on the Missouri side, announced on Thursday that it’s purchasing the former Hy-Vee grocery store space at 12200 State Line in Leawood Plaza. The store closed four years ago, when the town’s leaders refused to give the company $1 million in tax revenue to help upgrade the inside. At the time residents were aggravated about losing a grocery at that location.
Johnson County has appraised the value of the property at just under $3.2 million.
“I am delighted that we are in the final stages of acquiring the site on State Line Road,” said Shane Foster, Barstow president and head of school. The Leawood City Council is expected to review the plan by the end of summer.
School officials said the former store will increase the campus by more than 50 percent, giving the school an additional 62,680 square feet of space and 170 parking spots.
Barstow plans to renovate the facility and grow its STEAM programs (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) and robotics and early childhood programs, possibly adding students younger than 3 to its pre-K program.
Foster also envisions music and performance studios in the new space. In addition, the expanded campus will also offer a broad range of extracurricular activities. Barstow also plans to make the space available for use by students from other schools throughout the community.
“The proximity to our existing campus will allow easy transportation of students to and from the new location,” Foster said.
But, he said, no division of the school will move into the new site, which is expected to open by the end of the 2018-19 school year. “Our existing location in Missouri will continue to serve as our primary campus,” Foster said. All of Barstow’s approximately 720 students will continue taking their classes on the main campus.
This will mark the first time in Barstow’s 134-year history that the school has had a campus in Kansas. That said, students attending the private school come from more than 60 different ZIP codes on both sides of the state line. Barstow moved into its current space from 5110 Cherry St. in 1962.
Members of the community are looking forward to Barstow moving into the space, saying it may spark interest in Leawood Plaza.
“The Leawood Chamber of Commerce is very pleased that the Barstow School has chosen to invest in Leawood, and we look forward to them transforming this site into part of the Barstow community,” said Kevin Jeffries, president and chief executive officer of the Leawood Chamber and a Barstow alumnus.