School Tours: Lawrence College and Career Center doesn’t look like a school — by design

The Lawrence College and Career Center, 2910 Haskell Ave.

Editor’s note:This is the final story in a six-part series preceding Saturday’s public tour of the recently completed construction projects in the Lawrence school district.

There are no school desks in the Lawrence College and Career Center. Instead, visitors will find open spaces and meeting rooms with conference tables and alcoves with couches and high-top tables.

With its high ceilings, polished concrete flooring and metal rafters, the building looks more like a tech company than a school, and that was exactly the intention, explained Patrick Kelly, director of career and technical education for the Lawrence school district.

“Students wanted to make sure that the building didn’t look like a school,” Kelly said. “They asked that it look like a work place or a college.”

This is the first school year for the 33,000-square-foot center, which was completed over the summer with funds from the construction bond issue approved by Lawrence voters in 2013. Courses at the LCCC are available to Lawrence high school juniors and seniors in seven areas: Health & Emergency Care, Innovation & Engineering, Law & Government, Bio & Forensic Science, Manufacturing & Robotics, Computer & Network Technology, and HVAC & Construction.

The exposed infrastructure, in addition to adding to the atmosphere of the building, also serves as a teaching resource, Kelly said.

“With students taking classes in construction, HVAC and computer networking, keeping the infrastructure exposed provided some teaching opportunities,” he said.

Students enrolled in the program have four periods per week at their home high school and three periods at the LCCC. Transportation to the center is provided or students may drive themselves. The mission of the LCCC is to develop skills for in-demand and high-paying jobs by offering classes worth college credit, tuition-free, with instruction from business and industry professionals.

“A hallmark of the center is to integrate people from the professions,” said Lawrence schools Superintendent Rick Doll. “It’s trying to treat kids like adult professionals.”

The LCCC is partnered with the adjacent Dwayne Peaslee Technical Training Center, which has industrial courses, such as carpentry, welding and manufacturing. The Peaslee tech center houses the Lawrence Workforce Center, and also offers courses from several area colleges.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony at the LCCC, 2910 Haskell Ave., will be 10 a.m. Saturday, followed by an open house of the LCCC and Peaslee tech center.

A “Parade of Schools” will also be this Saturday, and will include the five elementary schools where additions and renovations funded by the bond construction are complete or nearing completion: Langston Hughes, Cordley, Hillcrest, New York and Quail Run.