Springfield Public Schools scraps plan to build new Pipkin Middle School on East Pythian

Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 5:29 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (Edited News Release/KY3) - Springfield Public Schools announced Wednesday it will not move forward with the purchase of a 20.9-acre parcel of undeveloped land located at 3207 East Pythian for the site of the new Pipkin Middle School.

SPS leaders cited difficulty in resolving the unique challenges posed by the property’s proximity to the railroad tracks and limited access for emergency vehicles as key factors in its decision. These obstacles were further complicated by the Planning and Zoning Commission’s actions in July and additional opposition from BNSF Railroad. The combination of all these factors ultimately led SPS to release the property rather than finalize the purchase.

“I am thankful for the Board of Education throughout this process,” said Dr. Grenita Lathan, superintendent. “The Board has the ultimate authority to determine the placement of a new school. Because our goal is to identify the best possible outcome for everyone affected, they took their time to continue assessing the situation, working with our administration on potential solutions to the concerns, and listening to stakeholders. As we move forward, we are united in our efforts to secure an even better option for our Pipkin students, staff, and community.”

A search for property within the Pipkin attendance boundary will continue until another option is identified. At the conclusion of a due diligence process lasting five months, the decision to release the Pythian property prior to closing was recommended by the district’s administration with unanimous approval from the Board of Education.

“We are committed to doing what is best for our students, staff, and families - and to listening to our community throughout this important process,” said Danielle Kincaid, president of the SPS Board of Education. “When we originally identified this property in March, it was our best option. By pursuing this option, we honored the recommendation of the Community Task Force on Facilities by working to secure a larger plot of land within the attendance boundary with sufficient space for a new building and expanded campus. Once the due diligence process was underway, however, we encountered obstacles and received additional stakeholder feedback that affirmed the decision to pause and continue the search.”

As the search for a new property continues, SPS remains focused on meeting the recommendations of the Community Task Force on Facilities, ensuring the new site for Pipkin includes the following:

  • A larger plot of land, approximately 10 acres, within the Pipkin attendance boundary.
  • Sufficient space for a new building, outdoor activities, parking, a bus lane, and improved/safer traffic flow for student drop-off and pick-up.
  • Completion by the end of the 2028 deadline for all Proposition S Phase 2 projects.

“The Community Task Force on Facilities supports the district’s ongoing work to secure the best possible location for the new Pipkin,” said Bridget Dierks and David Hall, task force co-chairs. “We appreciate the district’s genuine commitment to thoroughly vetting this and other properties prior to moving forward. We remain confident that these efforts will result in a quality learning environment for generations of Pipkin students to come - one that will make our community especially proud.”

A new Pipkin Middle School is possible because of voter approval of Proposition S, Phase 2, on April 4, 2023. To learn more, visit www.sps.org/props.

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