Westport school redevelopment moves forward with athletic field agreement


One concept for using part of the Westport High School athletic fields for parking while continuing to let the community use them. Presented by Kansas City Sustainable Development Partners at a meeting in March.

The Kansas City school district has reached an agreement with a developer for the redevelopment of Westport High School, 315 E. 39th Street. It will allow Kansas City Sustainable Development Partners (KCSDP) to add additional parking space to its plan but requires the group to provide the community with open space and a walking track or trail on the former athletic fields.(Correction: The agreement does require that KCSDP provide open space and a walking track or trail on the site, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be located on the former athletic fields).

Parking became an issue after the district and the developer had entered into a sales contract for the school. KCSDP is already redeveloping Westport Middle School across 39th Street and has plans for reuse of the high school.

But the school district, based on community input, had put a restriction on the sale of the high school property saying the track and field area could not be redeveloped. In March, the developers told the community that they could not make the redevelopment plan work if they could not add some additional parking in the track and field area.

Reaction to the request was varied. Some neighborhood, civic and business leaders supported allowing the developer to use part of the track and field space for parking. Other community members said the fields were important community assets and that they had concerns about surface parking.

The district said today the sale will go forward – but with a restriction that the track and field area must remain open to community use.


“Based off the feedback received, KCPS and KCSDP have reached an agreement that will revise the use restriction on the field/track area to allow for parking, if needed.  In return, KCSDP has committed to include open space and either a walking trail or track on the site that will be available for community use,” the district said in its announcement.

“KCPS has always worked to ensure that the repurposing of closed schools benefits the surrounding neighborhoods,”  School District Board Chair Jon Hile said. “We believe that this revised agreement effectively balances the need to address parking demands, meets the community’s desire for open space and a trail, and allows this innovative project to move forward.”

Bob Berkebile, a member of Kansas City Sustainable Development Partners, said his group will continue to work with the community on details of the plan.

“This decision allows us to continue our efforts to repurpose this important historic structure as a home to a diverse group of organizations focusing on increasing Kansas City’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, along with the health, vitality and resilience of our community. We are appreciative of the neighborhoods’ strong support and KCPS school board’s willingness to modify our agreement,” he said.

The school district’s repurposing office, which works to ensure community input into the reuse of closed schools, says there will be meetings with the Southmoreland, Old Hyde Park and Hyde Park neighborhoods. The community will also have a chance to comment when the plan goes to the city for approval.


  1. Laurie says:

    The lender who requires all this parking needs to get their brain out of the suburbs. There is plenty of parking around the building without having it in the middle of the track. Some people will walk here, ride a bike, take the bus or use Uber. It’s a waste of money and bad use of space to have this much parking.

  2. Phil says:

    This is laughable. You can’t be taken seriously if you’re planning a “next generation” co-working space but you’re also looking to pave a new surface lot. The two are mutually exclusive.

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