The Lawrence school district is seeking public input about plans to build what is being called the "College and Career Center," where high school students will be able enroll in post-secondary job training courses.
A public forum is scheduled for 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday in the cafeteria at Lawrence High School, 1901 Louisiana St.
Plans for the new facility were included in the $92.5 million bond issue that district voters approved April 2. That bond issue included $5.7 million to build a new facility that is currently planned at the district's Community Connections Center, located near Holcom Park, west of 25th and Iowa.
Since then, however, area business leaders and the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce have urged the district to consider another site at 31st and Haskell, where they hope to develop an education and training center geared for adults.
That center, to be named after longtime local labor leader Dwayne Peaslee, is currently planned to be built in space occupied by Hiper Industries.
Both the school district and the Chamber have indicated they plan to contract with various community colleges and technical schools to offer courses. The school district's program would enable high school students to earn college credit while they receive job training for careers that may not necessarily require a four-year college degree.
Under a new law passed by the Kansas Legislature, high school students can receive tuition waivers to take post-secondary career training courses while they are still in school. The school districts also can earn bonuses of $1,000 for each student who graduates with an industry-recognized certificate in a field that the Kansas Department of Labor determines is in high demand in the state.
Chamber officials have said their program would be more specifically tailored to the needs of local industries by offering customized training for specific kinds of industrial or technical jobs.
School district officials have said they have not officially changed their plans for locating their new facility at the Holcom site, but they are willing to consider the Chamber's alternative location, depending in part on what they hear from the public.