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Archive for Friday, May 12, 1995

EARTH TURNED FOR 2ND HIGH SCHOOL

May 12, 1995

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`This says that ... as a community, we are willing to grow,' Bob Johnson said during groundbreaking ceremonies Thursday for Lawrence's second high school.

Megan Dudley, a seventh-grader at West Junior High School, appeared confused Thursday afternoon, scouring a site plan for Lawrence's second high school.

"Wait a minute," she said. "Where's the pool?"

Her two friends soon joined in the search. No, not there. That's a parking lot. Or over there. ...

No, they discovered, there will be no indoor pool at their future alma mater.

"The other one's going to be better," Megan concluded hastily. "Lawrence High School has a pool."

Just then Dale Glenn, lead architect for the new high school, stepped up, dug his wing tips into the soft soil and extended an index finger toward a rust-colored square on the oversized poster board.

"That's where the pool's going to go," he said, pausing to notice Megan's newfound smile. He smiled back.

"Later," he said.

Glenn and Megan weren't the only ones looking to the future Thursday afternoon, as 50 school officials, engineers, architects, construction managers, fund-raisers, administrators and media representatives gathered on a corn field northeast of Sixth Street and Wakarusa Drive.

The event: groundbreaking for Lawrence's second high school.

"It's closing a chapter in our lives," said Bob Johnson, who co-chaired the effort to pass a $36.9 million school bond issue in November. "It's the opening of a book of many opportunities for our students."

Of the total bond issue, $25.8 million will stay on the 60-acre field, site of the as-yet-unnamed school. The 250,000-square-foot building will be flanked by a 1,000-space parking lot, a football practice field, a baseball park and two softball fields.

A pool similar to the Carl Knox Natatorium may be included eventually, Glenn said, but not for several years.

The current project is scheduled for construction bids in two weeks, with a projected opening in time for the fall semester of the 1997 school year.

Megan and her friends -- Rachael Huffman and Ashley Lafond -- will be there, walking through the doors as members of the first sophomore class.

They'll also be the only three members of the eventual 1,400-member student body to have wielded golden shovels at the groundbreaking. School board members Renee Karr, Mary Loveland and John Tacha yielded their tools to the lone students shortly after 4 p.m.

"I'll be able to say, `We were there,' " Rachael said afterward. "We're the owners of this place."

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