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Topeka city leaders annex land for new middle school

TOPEKA (KSNT) — Topeka city leaders on Tuesday signed off on a plan that would annex part of Shawnee County while expanding Topeka’s footprint to make room for a new middle school.

The City of Topeka’s annexation will affect approximately 93.05 acres of unincorporated Shawnee County land. The Auburn-Washburn School District is constructing a new middle school on the northeast corner of Southwest 29th St. and Southwest Auburn Road. The proposed size of the middle school is 146,206 square feet. Changes made to zoning laws were to accommodate the new school.

Washburn Rural Middle School has the largest student body in the state in Kansas. The new middle school would split that student body in two. The new middle school capacity would be 750-790. The creation of this new school and the division of the student population will reduce school enrollment in half and double extracurricular engagement.

27 News met with District 8 City Councilman Spencer Duncan, whose district will host the new school. Duncan said passing this ordinance will benefit students and teachers by providing them with the space and tools they need.

“It’s good that our schools are growing,” Duncan said. “This is important to the Topeka community, no matter what district it’s in. So having that new school with a new structure, both, benefits the teachers and the students because they’re going to have space. They will have the tools they need to learn. So, it’s only good for Topeka.

Duncan hopes the new middle school will provide a high level of learning for the community and students. This grade also moves sixth graders to middle school. At the same time, they are moving sixth grade through middle school to provide space for collaboration and social-emotional learning. The new Auburn Washburn Middle School will open in August 2025.

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