Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth Commanding General Lt. Gen. Theodore Martin and Unified School District 207 Board of Education members spoke on the importance of the district’s educators to students during a ribbon-cutting ceremony Aug. 12 at the newly built Patton Junior High School building, on the site of the old MacArthur Elementary School by the district office.
According to the ceremony program, the new school was designed for energy efficiency and the most current technology, featuring 38 classroom spaces for grades sixth through ninth, art and sciences spaces, common areas, an auditorium, a media center, multiple gymnasiums and an indoor running track. Designated hallways for each grade level also have collaborative and flexible learning environments inspired by the 2021 grant “Project ARMIES: Anchoring Reading and Mathematics in Exercise (Health) Sciences.”
USD 207 Superintendent Keith Mispagel said the district educates more than 1,600 military-connected children in preschool through ninth grade, and the new school represents a new location to achieve educational goals.
“We celebrate not just ability, but opportunities that will continue to enhance the education we provide. I often state publicly that I would put our teachers and staff up against any in the country for the skills, professionalism and heart they bring to the classroom daily; through all of this, our students will reach new heights,” Mispagel said. “The opening of this new Patton Junior High School building represents our commitment to military-connected students, commitment to our parents, commitment to education, and great respect and commitment to the men and women protecting our freedom each day.”
Mispagel said because more than half of the student body only attends USD 207 schools for a single year, the district strives to leave a lasting impact on families by building on the excitement of learning.
He thanked those who supported the construction of the school for their contributions, including the U.S. Department of Education, which provided Impact Aid funding; Hollis and Miller Architects; Titan Built LLC and other partners invested in the process.
USD 207 Board of Education President retired Col. Myron Griswold said the construction of the new MacArthur Elementary School building in 2016 presented the district with the opportunity to use the old MacArthur site for a new project. The board sought to replace the original Patton Junior High School, built in 1958, in the fall of 2018, and demolished the old MacArthur Elementary School building in 2020 to make way for the new junior high. Contractors completed the new Patton building in July.
Martin said, as a self-proclaimed armor advocate, he stood in awe of the details when he noticed the initial design of the new facility. He said like a new tank, Patton flaunts the best of new technology but is powerful because of its crew.
“We’ve got the finest educators I’ve ever seen in my 39 years of service. The educators, the support staff, administrators… being the husband of an educator, I know how important that is.”
Martin described the magic of connecting new students with Patton faculty and applauded those people who make a child’s time in the district valuable.
Sixth-grade teacher and Patton Alumna Amy Reinhold said she rethought her classroom design to support student proficiency and considered the flexibility of shared spaces as she and her colleagues moved from the elementary schools, where sixth-grade has previously been taught, into the new Patton building. She said she looks forward to meeting her new students and coaching the Odyssey of the Mind program.
Reinhold, who attended Patton as a student from seventh to ninth grade, said teaching in the new building during her 18th year as an educator brings her career full circle.
To learn more about Patton Junior High School, visit https://patton.usd207.org/.