History of Paseo Academy
Paseo High School was built by architect Charles A. Smith in 1926. Named after Paseo Boulevard, the school sat on top of a hill with its five stories and magnificent tower overlooking the city. At the time of the start-up of the Paseo High School in 1926, fourteen elementary schools made up the Paseo District. Schools within the district were founded in the late 1800s and early 1900s. School sessions typically began in a two room frame building and carried with it the hardships of a pioneer in a sparsely settled country district. The streets were ungraded, there were no sidewalks and stepping stones were the only crossings over very muddy roads. As the city began to grow rapidly southward, streets were graded and paved, homes were built, and children began going to school in a much improved atmosphere. Paseo High School was considered by most residents and students in the area, to be the most attractive school in the Kansas City School District, but it would not remain.
Paseo High School was scheduled to come down for all of the wrong reasons. In a court hearing concerning the Kansas City Desegregation Case, Paseo was marked to be demolished. Several other high schools in the Kansas City School District, some older than Paseo High, had been, or were scheduled to be up-dated or completely re- furbished, but not Paseo. The death knell of this landmark rang loud and clear. This towering building, although very impressive, was secondary when considering the camaraderie and spirit of the Administration, Faculty and Student Body alike. Paseo became a second home for 3,000 people. But, the school was coming down. Magnet schools had become ̳”the thing to do” in many school systems and the Kansas City district was no exception. Paseo had become a candidate to be transformed into a Magnet School as the ̳”Paseo Academy of Fine and Performing Arts of Kansas City”. Persons making that decision quickly determined in their own mind that the ―old building was unsatisfactory and should be replaced with a new, modern building.
On March 30, 1989, Judge Clark entered an Order ―discontinuing the use of the existing Paseo High School and replacing it with a new facility in the present site. On April 2, 1990, Superintendent Garcia wrote a letter to Paseo High School students telling them that their student body would be dispersed and their building demolished. On October 23, 1990, black people and white people, young and old, rich and not-so-rich gathered in front of Paseo high school to bid it farewell.
Though the magnificent old building was demolished, soon after in 1991 a brand new building took it’s place. Now a signature school in the KCPS district, Paseo Academy for Fine and Performing Arts houses almost 500 students from 7th to 12th grade. With dance, visual arts, fashion design, graphic arts, instrumental and vocal music, technical theater, creative writing and drama, Paseo Academy faculty and students are dedicated to creativity and academic achievement.