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Archive for Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Student activity at heart of design plans

February 11, 2014

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The Lawrence school district’s new College and Career Center promises to be a place full of commotion and energy, according to schematic plans unveiled Monday night.

“This won’t be the quietest building in the district,” architect Gary Nevius assured the Lawrence school board.

Nevius is a principal in the firm Momenta, which was hired along with Sabatini Architects for the planning and design of the new center.

The drawings displayed Monday call for a building made up of two rectangular boxes, one sitting on top of the other in a t-shaped structure, that will house a rapidly-growing number of programs aimed at preparing high school students for specific careers.

The 30,000-square foot facility is being planned on property recently donated to the district near 31st and Haskell streets. The estimated $5.7 million project is being funded with proceeds from the district’s $92.5 million bond issue.

Patrick Kelly, director of career and technical education for the district, said the original plan for the facility called for adding four new programs: health sciences, computer networking, commercial construction and machine technology.

But after consulting with area businesses and local governments, Kelly said, the list has now grown to include biotechnology and forensic science, law and government, and interactive design.

The schematic drawings show large areas marked as “lab space” where students will work on projects ranging from DNA analysis to youth court activities. They also include spaces for group discussions, visual presentations and brainstorming — or what educators often refer to as “ideation” — many of which would be separated by transparent walls to encourage more collaboration among groups.

The Lawrence Chamber of Commerce is also proposing to develop an adult job training facility on adjoining property, and district officials say some high school programs such as machine technology will likely be located in that facility.

Nevius said officials hope to break ground on the new facility this spring, with the goal of opening the new center for the 2015-2016 academic year.

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