By Kathy Feist
The Grandview School District held a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday morning for the construction of Martin City K8’s new middle school gym, part of the $45 million no-tax-increase bond issue district voters approved in April 2021.
“With this project we are able to grow and to share space that we currently do not have,” said Martin City K8 Principal Dr. Jennifer Harris before an outdoor audience of 30 people. The gym is currently shared by both the school’s elementary and middle school gym classes. “We have a curtain that hangs down the middle of the gym. So it’s a challenge.”
The new gymnasium will be an add-on site and will allow seating for 750 students. It is the first building to be constructed in the district in 17 years. The project will allow for the remodeling of the former gym to be a fine arts facility for the school band and choir as well as an auxiliary gym. Completion is expected in August 2023.
The Martin City gymnasium project makes up $4.7 million of the $45 million bond, which was the largest bond passed in district history.
Superintendent Dr. Kenny Rodrequez thanked both the Grandview and south Kansas City community for the bond approval. “It’s been an amazing experience to see so much community support,” he said. “It shows that they really do want to see our school district continue to grow and prosper.”
Rodrequez listed some of the other funded projects including expanding the Grandview High School cafeteria, remodeling the high school’s basement for an industrial technology area, purchasing new equipment for playgrounds, and upgrading security and safety equipment for all schools.
Grandview Mayor Leonard Jones discussed the effect the project will have on the students. “Just to be able to do things that other school districts do– because they have the capacity to–makes all the difference in the world for the students,” he said. ”We are excited about what the students will experience this year.”
Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas lauded support from both cities. “I see not only outstanding cooperation for today but certainly for the future. I want to offer our ongoing cooperation and our support.”
Two students expressed their views. Zair Kyles, 6th Grade, said, “When I heard about a new gym being built I was ecstatic about the possibilities a new gym has: letting the school have giant assemblies and also letting the Middle School have its own gym.”
Olivia Middaugh, an 8th Grade student, said “We are here to celebrate the beginning of a new chapter of our lives. This gym is just the beginning.”
Grandview School District Board of Education President Monica Terry rounded out the ceremony by thanking the district voters, J.E. Dunn Construction, Hollis + Miller Architects, all subcontractors, Superintendent Kenny Rodrequez, Assistant Superintendent of Operations and Finance Dr. Royce Powelson, faculty and staff, and the South Kansas City and Grandview Chambers of Commerce. “The most important part is our community,” she said.
The Martin City K8 school band performed before and after the groundbreaking ceremony.
This story was updated 9/8/22 to reflect a correct cost amount for the gymnasium/fine arts facility. The $19 million previous written was in regards to the construction manager at-risk, J.E. Dunn, cost.