This week, Shawnee Board of Education members gathered to discuss various topics — among them was an update on district improvements funded by the passage of a $32 million bond issue.

This week, Shawnee Board of Education members gathered to discuss various topics — among them was an update on district improvements funded by the passage of a $32 million bond issue.

Unlike upgrades to existing schools, the planned new elementary school needs more contemplation, such as where to place it — whether to purchase property or set it up on a plot of land already owned by the district.

According to Business Manager David Harp's financial break-down of the bond issue plans, Mass Architects estimated that a 60,000 square-foot facility could be constructed on approximately seven to 10 acres of land.

“Other firms have also stated this,” the memo reads.

The first decision the district must make is whether to buy land or use what they have.

Finding the appropriate size property in a particular area leaves few options. Their budgeted price for purchasing land is $300,000 that will come from the education portion of county sales tax funds.

It may not be worth their while, Shawnee Public Schools (SPS) Superintendent Dr. April Grace said.

Another path is to use a site it owns, like property near 45th Street on Acme Road where a Shawnee elementary school existed years ago.

The obvious upside to using the Acme land is that it would save money allotted for purchase of property, Grace said.

“The Acme property still seems to be the best opportunity,” Grace said. “We may not be able to get additional land.”

One option is a corner piece of property in the area owned by St. Gregory's University.

They are getting it appraised and will get back to us, she said.

“It's still hard to think about. We have so many other needs that it leaves us thinking that not spending additional money on (the new elementary school) land might be best,” she said, “when we have other pieces of property needing land purchase so those sites can be enhanced.”

She said the board could be told the asking price for the St. Gregory's property sometime in February.

The meeting was informational only; it was not a venue designed to vote on action of any kind.

Watch for updates.

You can reach Vicky O. Misa at (405) 214-3962.