Officials in the Northland broke ground on a controversial new elementary school on Tuesday morning.
The Park Hill School District plans to build a Hopewell Elementary School, in the area of 68th Street and NW Waukomis Drive.
“There’s been a lot of effort put it for making it a very innovative place for kids,” Principal Melissa Hensley said.
But some people say a forest at the location is the last of its kind in the portion of Kansas City inside Platte County and they want to protect that.
The group trying to save the forest says they do support the new school but want to make sure the area is protected. Groups have put up signs saying, Save the forest, and are putting pressure on the school to create a conservation plan.
The district purchased nearly 300 acres in the area and plans to open the new K-5 school by fall of 2019.
Superintendent Dr. Jeanette Cowherd says the school is needed and says the district has plans for a high school at the site, as well.
“We’re excited just about the natural beauty of this and how this will enhance this area,” Cowherd said.
District officials say they do understand the environmental concerns and say they will try to preserve as much land as possible.
“We are on the same page as they are," Cowherd said. "We think it’s a gorgeous site and we are committed to making sure that we are good stewards of this and that we are good neighbors to them.”
Currently, there is no permanent plan to protect the forest but officials say all trees in the area that were planned to be taken out are already out. They say more trees will be planted after construction.
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