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

The City of Topeka’s annexation will be about 93.05 acres of unincorporated land from Shawnee County. The Auburn-Washburn School District is building a new middle school at the northeast corner of southwest 29th St. and southwest Auburn Rd. The proposed middle school size is 146,206 square feet. Changes made to zoning laws were to accommodate the new school.

Washburn Rural Middle School has the state’s largest student body in Kansas. The new middle school would split that student body into two. The new middle school capacity would be 750-790. Creating this new school and dividing the student population will reduce grade-level enrollment by half and double extracurricular involvement.

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

“It’s good that our schools are growing,” Duncan said. “That’s important for the Topeka community regardless of what district it is. So having that new school with a new facility, both, benefits the teachers and the students because they’re going to have space. They’re going to have the tools they need to learn. So, it’s just a positive for Topeka.”

Duncan hopes the new middle school will provide the community and the students with a heightened level of learning. This vote also moves 6th grade to middle school. At the same time, they are moving 6th grade to middle school to provide space for collaboration and social-emotional learning. The new Auburn Washburn Middle School will open in August 2025.