Piper breaks ground for new intermediate school

Strong wind gusts blew the yellow construction hats off students’ heads at today’s groundbreaking for a new Piper intermediate school at 131st and Leavenworth Road. The school is planned for third through fifth grades. (Staff photo by Mary Rupert)
Piper students continued the groundbreaking with different construction hats in today’s groundbreaking for a new intermediate school at 131st and Leavenworth Road. (Staff photo by Mary Rupert)

by Mary Rupert

Wind gusts may have knocked the yellow plastic construction hats off future Piper intermediate students at Thursday’s school groundbreaking, but that wasn’t enough to impede the ceremony.

It was just another tiny setback in a five-year effort to build a new school. Piper broke ground today at 131st and Leavenworth Road.

Piper school district officials were quick to replace the kids’ yellow construction hats with heavier construction hats for adults. Winds were gusting to 28 mph Thursday afternoon, with a temperature of 41 and a wind chill of 33. Speeches for the event were held inside a tent at the site of the new school, with the wind whipping at the sides of the tent. More than 50 people attended.

Tim Conrad, Piper School District superintendent, noted that the voters approved this bond issue by a 70-30 margin. Voters approved the $35 million bond issue for the school last February. Two years before that, Piper voters defeated at $67 million school bond issue.

The new school at 131st and Leavenworth Road will be for third through fifth grades.

“In a sense, we’re giving this land to our kids in the future in Piper,” Conrad said. “In 17 months, this spot will be filled with laughter, with learning, with collaboration.”

The building is for the future of 700 children in the Piper district, he said. The district is celebrating its 100th graduating class this year, he added.

“We’re going to build the future, one child at a time,” Conrad said.

Jeb Vader, Piper school board president, said a dedicated group made it possible for this project to move forward. He also acknowledged the voters as being important in the school effort. It is a challenge in a Class 4A school district, he added.

“The construction of this new building will support the students in our continually growing school community by providing much-needed additional space, a safe and secure learning environment, and cooperative learning spaces to ensure our children continue to grow and succeed to the best of their ability,” Vader said. “We look forward to seeing this progress and are excited to open the doors to the Piper students in the fall of 2020.”

Darrell Yoder, from the Vote Yes Committee, recalled that the effort to build a new school started in 2013, but then faced a challenge after a bond issue vote failed in 2015.

“It was a little bit of a challenge,” he said. “With those challenges, the opportunities came to work in collaboration with the community.”

When the community did not support the bond effort for a new high school, the committee had to come back and work with the community to determine what it wanted.

“We were at a point where the students were here, we had to find a place for the children,” he said.

Selected students from the Piper classes of 2028, 2029 and 2030, who will be the first to attend classes at the intermediate school, participated in the groundbreaking ceremony today.

Officials who attended the groundbreaking included Unified Government Commissioners Mike Kane and Melissa Bynum, and State Rep. Kathy Wolfe Moore, D-36th Dist.

The groundbreaking ceremony continued today with Piper school district officials and committee members for the Piper bond issue project. (Staff photo by Mary Rupert)
A drawing of the Piper intermediate school was on display today at the groundbreaking ceremony at 131st and Leavenworth Road.
“In a sense, we’re giving this land to our kids in the future in Piper,” Piper Superintendent TIm Conrad said. (Staff photo)
Jeb Vader, Piper school board president, said a dedicated group made it possible for this school bond issue to move forward and for the new school to become a reality. (Staff photo by Mary Rupert)
Darrell Yoder, from the Vote Yes Committee, noted there were challenges in getting the new school plan approved by voters. “With those challenges, the opportunities came to work in collaboration with the community,” he said. (Staff photo by Mary Rupert)
More than 50 persons attended the groundbreaking ceremony today for a new school at 131st and Leavenworth Road. (Staff photo by Mary Rupert)

More than 50 persons attended the groundbreaking ceremony today for a new school at 131st and Leavenworth Road. (Staff photo by Mary Rupert)
Students who participated in today’s groundbreaking ceremony represented the classes of 2028, 2029 and 2030 in the Piper school district. They posed for a photo at the groundbreaking ceremony. (Staff photo by Mary Rupert)

Piper comes from behind, beats Louisburg 57-44

Senior Brandon Jackson (21) put up a shot near the goal in the second half of Friday’s game against Louisburg. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)

by Brian Turrel

The Piper Pirates came back from a halftime deficit to beat the Louisburg Wildcats 57-44 on Friday night in Piper.

Piper got down early, giving the Wildcats early 5-0 and 7-2 leads. Piper couldn’t get its inside shots to fall, and didn’t stop the inside penetration by the Louisburg offense. Piper trailed 13-10 at the end of the first quarter and 25-23 at halftime.

Piper came out of the break with a renewed intensity on the defensive end. Four consecutive stops let them score the first 9 points, including breakaway dunks by Braijon Barnes and Brandon Jackson.

Louisburg made a run to pull with one early in the fourth quarter, but the Pirate defense clamped down again, and pulled away late for the 13-point winning margin.

Jackson led the team with 16 points, and Gabe Eskina contributed 12 points, seeing extensive minutes off the bench. Kohl Vogel of Louisburg scored 17 for the visitors, showing some great moves around the basket.

Piper advanced to 2-0 in the Frontier League (5-1 overall). They’ll play next on Monday, Dec. 17, at Hayden Catholic High School in Topeka.

Junior Gabe Eskina (24) took a short jump shot in the lane. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)

 

Sophomore Tamar Bates (2) set up the perimeter defense. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)

 

Brandon Jackson broke away for a dunk in the third quarter. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)

 

Participants in the Piper Winter Dance Clinic performed with the dance team at halftime. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)

 

Participants in the Piper Winter Dance Clinic performed with the dance team at halftime. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)

 

Jackson went up over the Louisburg defense for a second half shot. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)

 

Tamar Bates drove the lane to put up a shot. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)

 

Senior Braijon Barnes (4) blocked a shot in the first quarter. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)

 

The Piper cheerleaders fired up the noisy home crowd. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)

 

Lady Pirates swarm Louisburg 66-17

Senior Ryan Cobbins was honored during the game for reaching 1,000 career points for the Piper Lady Pirates. (Copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)

by Brian Turrel

The Piper girls basketball team continued their unbeaten start to the 2018-19 season with a dominant 66-17 win over the Louisburg Lady Wildcats.

Piper controlled the game from the opening tip, using strong backcourt pressure to limit Louisburg’s shot opportunities, and getting reliable inside scoring from Ryan Cobbins and LaKya Leslie.

Piper held a 35-6 halftime advantage, and coach Shane Stout used the second half to get plenty of playing time for his reserves.

Play was briefly stopped in the first quarter to recognize senior Ryan Cobbins, as she passed the 1,000 career point mark, only the 3rd Lady Pirate to reach that goal.

Cobbins led the team with 19 points. Junior transfer Ayreona Carter contributed 13 points off the bench.

Piper advanced to 3-0 in the Frontier League (6-0 overall). They’ll play next on Monday, Dec. 17, at Hayden Catholic High School in Topeka.

Senior LaKya Leslie (24) won the tip-off against Louisburg. (Copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)

 

Banes looked for an open teammate on the right wing. (Copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)

 

Junior Ali Vigil (25) drove the ball against the Louisburg defense. (Copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)

 

Sophomore guard Evelyn Vazquez (3) led the Pirates on a fast break. (Copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)

 

Junior Ayreona Carter (32) lined up a free throw late in the second half. (Copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)

 

Freshman guard Saniya Simmons (1) passed the ball to a teammate running the lane. (Copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)

 

Sophomore Jessica Thomas (21) took a shot in the second half. (Copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)

 

Cobbins took a jump shot near the free throw line. (Copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)

 

Junior Grace Banes (15) took a jump shot in the first half. (Copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)