Archive for Sunday, August 26, 2007

$54 million: With Lawrence school construction winding down, the district offers a look at what taxpayers paid for

Faculty praises new facilities

South Junior High School eighth-grade English teacher Kathleen Scollon teaches in the hallway of the new school, which cost about $24 million. The school's construction took up the largest part of a $54 million bond issue passed in April 2005.

South Junior High School eighth-grade English teacher Kathleen Scollon teaches in the hallway of the new school, which cost about $24 million. The school's construction took up the largest part of a $54 million bond issue passed in April 2005.

August 26, 2007


School bond issue improvements

An audio slideshow review of all the major improvements completed from the $54 million school bond issue -- mainly at Lawrence High School, Free State High School and Central, West and Southwest junior high schools. Enlarge video

The work that resulted from a $54 million bond issue in 2005 is done - well, nearly done.

Gone are the portable classrooms at the junior high schools. In their place are new wings to schools, as well as new classrooms and locker rooms. Older schools are now new and improved. One school, South Junior High, which still needs work, was totally rebuilt.

Central Junior High

The building, 1400 Mass., formerly Liberty Memorial High School until 1954, received a $2.6 million makeover with six new classrooms and other improvements. The old Coach Nanny Duver Gym in the center of the building last school year became choral and band rooms.

"It's state of the art, and it's bigger than we had imagined," said band teacher Johannah Cox, who has taught 22 years at Central.

The gym, completed in the spring, on the school's northern side, will be dedicated in September and named for Duver. Also, about $700,000 in capital outlay funds - separate from the bond issue - have added new windows to the old building.

Lawrence High School

The $3.4 million improvements at LHS include a new chemistry wing with three classrooms.

"For the first time in recent memory, we have all science rooms in the same wing," said Alan Gleue, LHS science department chairman.

Dirk Wedd, the LHS football coach and PE teacher, says the new weight room and expanded boys and girls locker rooms have allowed more students to participate in weightlifting classes. It's also made things easier on athletes.

Free State High

For $1.18 million, classrooms and a lab area for technical education allows students to get hands-on work for woods, automotive and welding.

"It's useful. It's comfortable. Now we can expand our program," teacher David Bailey said.

A new greenhouse was added next to the southwestern corner of the building.

West Junior High

Portable classrooms around for decades are gone with the $3.6 million addition.

Construction workers added a section of 13 classrooms to the middle of the building. Being able to group department teachers together and have all students inside the building has drastically improved the atmosphere, said Principal Myron Melton.

"Everything's just more cohesive," he said.

Students can also now take advantage of a new auxiliary gymnasium for class and practice.

Construction crews are finishing up handicap-accessible ramps now on the building's southern entrance.

Southwest Junior High

Elbow room is now a luxury in the cafeteria with the extra space added. Tables aren't jammed together any more.

"It affects how comfortable everybody is when they are having lunch," Southwest Principal Trish Bransky said.

The project - bid for $5 million and completed mostly in February - also added 16 classes and an auxiliary gym. Like the other junior high schools, the portable classrooms are history with the now wide-open space inside.

South Junior High, Broken Arrow School

The largest part of the bond project, bid for $24 million, is the new South Junior High School, renovation and expansion at Broken Arrow School, and demolition of the old South in the 2700 block of Louisiana Street.

Remodeling and other projects like a new Broken Arrow cafeteria are done. During the next couple of months, workers will continue to add on to the office at the front of the building and then finish up the job at the new South.

Removing asbestos in Broken Arrow and the old South was bid for $558,000.

Overall construction of the bond projects came in under budget as bids totaled $39.9 million compared with a budgeted $41.4. Other costs include architectural plans and construction management, building permits, furnishings and equipment.

Tom , the district's division director for operations and facility planning, said he expected the final cost to end up $1.5 million below the $54 million. He said the district could use the extra money to make more improvements at any of those schools.


KsTwister 8 years, 3 months ago

We think SJHS looks like a garage and the reporters of LJW should have included it went over the the projected cost by 8.5 million according to all THEIR previous articles. The lies to Lawrence taxpayers continue. And they have 1.5 million left well there's the WRAP cost by golly!!! Unbelievable!! "And progress continued on the biggest project, the $31.9 million new South Junior High School building, going up just northeast of the school at 2734 La."

Christine Pennewell Davis 8 years, 3 months ago

If the school is done why is this teacher holding class in the hall? and the garage doors??

mom_of_three 8 years, 3 months ago

I am sure Dr. Clouser, the social studies teacher, appreciates your comments.
No, the school isn't finished yet. Evidently, you didn't read the article.
I actually have two children attending South Junior High and my kids love the new school. No, it isn't finished, but it's by far better than the old asbestos filled, overrun by rodent, windowless pit that used to stand. A couple of teachers are having class in the hall way temporarily. Big deal.
I don't know why they have garage doors on some class rooms - maybe to open up the space or for future needs or potential.
I can't wait to see it myself.
It doesn't fit your ideal of a perfect school, but evidently, your kid didn't go to the old school.

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