As an extreme makeover of Lawrence High School nears completion after a two-year renovation, the public is invited to view the Chesty Lions’ new digs.
The Lawrence school district will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 9 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 9 at LHS, 1901 Louisiana St. Tours will be available at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. Room 308 Productions also will livestream the event on YouTube at this link.
After the ceremonial ribbon cutting, the Lawrence Lions Alumni Association will honor past inductees in its Hall of Honor, which, before the renovation project, was located in the rotunda near the main entry and cafeteria.
A vast and open floor plan, stairs, library and a new Hall of Honor space now greet those entering the school’s front doors. Light floods the wide hallways and learning pockets thanks to walls of windows bordering the school. Guests can also view for themselves the incredible and massive mural that spans much of the school. Festivities coincide with Homecoming Week.
In 2017, voters approved the $50 million bond construction project with a property tax increase as part of a ballot question that proposed $87 million worth of secondary school renovations and technology improvements. That vote followed a separate no-tax-increase bond approval in 2013 for $92.5 million to build the Lawrence College and Career Center, enhance district technology and make improvements at LHS, Free State High School and various elementaries.
At the Sept. 27 board meeting, district administrator Cynthia Johnson told the board the event would surpass a ribbon cutting. “Although every aspect is not completed, we are to the point where we can celebrate everything that is taking place,” said Johnson, who served as interim principal at LHS for two years before being named executive director of inclusion, engagement and belonging.
“So come out if you would like to hear the band, the choir, if you want to hear and see performances from our (Native American Student Services) Pow Wow Dancers, if you want to see performances by our Free State and Lawrence High steppers … please come out and join us.”
LHS has a new leader this year in Principal Jessica Bassett, who replaced Johnson in July. A news release by the district in February announcing Bassett’s hire said she had previously served in the Kansas City, Missouri school district 11 years in principal roles and 10 years as a vocal music and reading teacher.