New 194,000-square-foot middle school opens up in Lee’s Summit after 2 years

Published: Aug. 23, 2022 at 5:45 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 23, 2022 at 11:49 AM CDT
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LEE’S SUMMIT, Mo. (KCTV) - The new 194,000-square-foot East Trails Middle School in Lee’s Summit is open for 1,200 students after two years of construction.

The building on Southeast Bailey Road cost $72 million to build. The district bought land in 2012 for this new middle school they say is designed for collaboration and learning flexibility.

“Well, it really started in 2012 in discussions talking about moving sixth grade up from the elementary to the middle school,” said Superintendent Dr. David Buck. “So, it’s been a decade process.”

It’s on 50 acres of land that features a high school baseball and softball complex, a new gymnasium, and 36 classrooms.

This building has 6th, 7th, and 8th graders for this school year, but it is a model test to see if they will continue that or shift grade levels around again. The fourth middle school in the district will have around 950 students, but it can hold 1,200 in total, inside the building.

“It’s hard on a public school to build an entirely new building so this opportunity to have a new middle school allowed us to create this space that will help increase our students’ collaboration,” seventh grade teacher Shahr Razaiekhaligh said.

The classroom space is now “future-ready,” according to Razaiekhaligh, with common areas, moveable furniture, sliding glass doors and Wi-Fi available on outdoor patios.

“I feel like these types of spaces are going to help push education forward. We call it ‘21st-century learning’ but it’s 2022. We should have been doing this years ago,” said Razaiekhaligh.

The principal of the brand-new school, Dr. Whitney Morehead, said teachers come from 19 other Lee’s Summit Schools along with the new students. The 6th grade is now in middle school across the district following the board’s decision to move them up to middle school. They join the hundreds that will roam the halls -- together as Bison.

“We’re all coming together, we’re all new and it’s a really great opportunity for us to begin to build our own culture and what we want to see in a school from the ground up. It doesn’t happen that often,” said Morehead.

The district also approved renovations at their other three existing middle schools to create additional space for programs like music and art to prepare for hosting 6th graders this school year.

Last year in June, the LSR7 Board of Education approved the East Trails name from a naming committee over East View and Sunrise acres.

After reviewing public submissions, a committee of parents, students, and staff recommended nicknames. The board voted on the “Bison” over Rattlers and Dragons.