Lee’s Summit R-7 school opened in 2017 thanks to cost-saving partnership, bond issue

The Missouri Innovation Campus was among 25 Kansas City area construction and real-estate projects to earn Capstone Awards from the Kansas City Business Journal. The Capstone Awards will be presented at a March 28 reception in Overland Park.

Winners were selected in nine categories, and the Missouri Innovation Campus was one of four metro-area projects honored in the community impact category. The Lee’s Summit R-7 facility was the only Lee’s Summit project to be honored with a 2018 Capstone Award. To qualify for the award, projects had to be move-in ready by the end of 2017.

The Missouri Innovation Campus houses the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District’s Summit Technology Academy and Missouri Innovation Campus programs as well as graduate and undergraduate programs within the University of Central Missouri (UCM) Lee’s Summit facility.

The facility is funded thanks to a 2015 no-tax-increase bond issue as well as a unique partnership with higher education. Through this partnership with UCM, Lee’s Summit R-7 and the university constructed and are operating this cost-saving shared facility. Under the plan, Lee’s Summit R-7 is paying approximately 40 percent of the new school with UCM paying the remaining 60 percent. The R-7 School District is the sole owner of the school with UCM paying its portion through a lease agreement.

Summit Technology Academy is a unique high-school program that prepares students for careers in areas such as engineering, computer science, health care, human services and digital media technology. The Missouri Innovation Campus program is a progressive collaboration between the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District, Metropolitan Community College and the University of Central Missouri. By engaging business partners and community organizations, the MIC offers an accelerated program that greatly reduces the time it takes students to complete a four-year degree, significantly lowering college debt and providing job-ready skills that are highly sought after by business. The MIC program was highlighted by President Barack Obama during a visit to the University of Central Missouri’s Warrensburg campus in 2013.

The Missouri Innovation Campus features 60 classrooms including shared spaces for the school district and university programs as well as spaces designated for each organization. The facility takes advantage of exterior light with corridors that can double as additional learning areas at some locations. The Missouri Innovation Campus also features medical school-caliber skilled nursing labs and simulation rooms; professional quality digital media technology; high-tech engineering, biomedical and computer science instruction areas; and an international studies area with state-of-the-art distance learning technology. A testing center is located on the second floor and provides everything from GED to computer software certification testing as well as electronic monitoring of individuals taking the exams.

The community celebrated the new school at a Sept. 5 grand opening, and the Missouri Innovation Campus hosts open house events throughout the year for prospective students, their families and local citizens. For more information, visit the Summit Technology Academy webpage at https://sta.lsr7.org/.