The new Lawrence Catholic School will open in August with campuses at St. John's School and the expansion Corpus Christi site.
Two Lawrence parishes, St. John the Evangelist and Corpus Christi, are planning a new and expanded Catholic school system for next year, with enrollment on two campuses expected to top 350.
St. John's, which has had a school for more than 40 years, will join with Corpus Christi to create Lawrence Catholic School in fall 2000. There will be two campuses under a unified administration, said Pat Newton, principal at St. John's.
"This is a big change. We're excited, but this is all new," said Newton, who will be principal of the new school.
St. John's School, opened in 1956 and now serving 315 students in kindergarten through sixth grade, will remain at 1208 Ky. It will be renamed St. John Campus.
Corpus Christi Campus, at 4555 W. 15th, adjacent to the new Corpus Christi Catholic Church, will enroll a maximum of 46 kindergartners in the first year. The plan is to add one grade level each year until the campus has kindergarten through sixth grade.
Newton said demand for Catholic education in Lawrence sparked the change. She said there were 28 students on St. John's waiting list for that school's kindergarten.
"We are crowded," Newton said from her office at St. John's School. "We have waiting lists. So, we are expanding."
Students will be able to cross-enroll between parishes. In the past, students from both parishes went to St. John's.
"Eventually, as it grows, we'll need additional administration," said Newton, who has been principal at St. John's School for six years.
Meanwhile the two campuses will have a joint budget, educational program and administration.
In the future, Newton said, the Catholic community would like to build a junior high.
"That's a dream," Newton said. "There's room at Corpus Christi for a junior high. That's a dream and several million dollars away."
"Right now, we need to take care of what's in front of us. That's the elementary."
Lawrence Catholic School will be owned and operated by the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kan.
The new school will have a single board, composed of an equal number of members from both parishes. At least two board members from each parish must be parents of students enrolled at Lawrence Catholic School.
Teachers certified by the state of Kansas will staff both campuses of the school.
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