Repurposing Initiative Garners State Award

Staff members honored for long-term community planning effort


Kansas City, Oct. 25, 2017: Two members of the Kansas City Public Schools team have earned statewide recognition for their efforts to ensure the healthy development of neighborhoods across the community.

Shannon Jaax

KCPS Planning and Real Estate Services Director Shannon Jaax and Senior Planner Jesse Lange received the Outstanding Implementation Award from the Missouri Chapter of the American Planning Association during a ceremony on Oct. 19 at the chapter’s 2017 conference in St. Louis. The award recognizes efforts that demonstrate significant, long-term and measurable improvements in communities as a result of development planning.

Jesse Lange

Ms. Jaax and Mr. Lange were honored for their direction and oversight of the KCPS Repurposing Initiative, an effort launched after 30 schools were closed during a right-sizing process around 2010. Instead of simply selling the sites to the highest bidder on the market, the initiative is designed to ensure that the closed buildings are “repurposed” to ensure the highest and best use for each neighborhood, the school system and the city.

To date, 14 sites have been sold, one is being leased with an option to purchase, six are under contract or memorandums-of-understanding, one is being reused by KCPS, and four have been demolished under the Repurposing Initiative.

A good example of the results achieved by the Repurposing Initiative is the Switzer Old West and Switzer Annex sites in Kansas City’s Westside neighborhood. KCPS sold the sites to Foutch Brothers, LLC for use as 114 residential apartments with limited commercial and retail space in January 2015. Construction was complete in Spring 2017 and a ribbon-cutting was held on April 18.

The American Planning Association provides leadership in the development of vital communities by advocating excellence in planning, promoting education and citizen empowerment, and providing its members with the tools and support necessary to meet the challenges of growth and change. The Missouri Chapter has approximately 500 members.