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St. Thomas Aquinas is upgrading its Overland Park campus

St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Overland Park is looking to make improvements to its campus near Pflumm Road and College Boulevard.

The Overland Park Planning Commission approved a preliminary development plan earlier this month that would allow the school to construct a new multipurpose room addition, as well as a new track and soccer field.

Big layout changes impact the school’s athletics programs

  • At the northeast corner of the property, a new track and soccer would be constructed to replace the existing soccer field and softball field.
  • The softball field will be moved to the southern portion of the school’s campus, roughly 50 feet away from the nearby Scenic Woods residential subdivision.
  • Additionally, a new shot put field and storage building are proposed to be built to the west of the new track.
  • The roughly 10,000-square-foot multipurpose room addition will also be constructed on the southeast side of the school’s main building, filling in a small courtyard.

St. Thomas Aquinas wants to build a new track and field

  • Representing St. Thomas Aquinas, Gordon Kimble with HTK Architects told the commission that the school previously used the track at Johnson County Community College, but it has since been replaced with other fields.
  • “There’s been nowhere nearby where the track and field team can practice, so they’ve been having to travel off-site by vehicle,” Kimble said.
  • He said the intent is to include a track and practice field on site so students can simply walk to practice instead of having to carpool.
Overland Park St. Thomas Aquinas
Photo credit Nikki Lansford.

Neighbors were concerned about the softball field

  • Resident Doug Hoppock, who resides just south of where the proposed softball field would be, said he had concerns the field would produce significant noise and lighting issues.
  • Agreeing with Hoppock, resident Tom Mayfield said he thinks the roughly 50-foot buffer between the softball and Scenic Woods was too small.
  • In response to residents’ concerns, Kimble said the school plans to use the softball field primarily before sunset and will only turn on the lights during double-header games that occur after dark.

The commission showed unanimous support

  • Commissioner Rob Krewson noted the school’s current softball field located roughly 60 feet from residential homes to the north of St. Thomas Aquinas has received no noise complaints.
  • “The new softball field is probably oriented about the best way it could be,” added Commissioner Tom Robinett. “I don’t see the problem with maybe two double-headers a year. Most of the games will be in the afternoon when there’s daylight.”
  • Before construction can begin, the development plan must come before the Overland Park City Council in the following months to receive final approval.

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About the author

Nikki Lansford
Nikki Lansford

Hi! I’m Nikki, and I cover the city of Overland Park.

I grew up in southern Overland Park and graduated from Olathe East before going on to earn a degree in journalism from the University of Missouri. At Mizzou, I worked as a reporter and editor at the Columbia Missourian. Prior to joining the Post, I had also done work for the Northeast News, PolitiFact Missouri and Kaiser Health News.

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