Bond Issue Passes

Voters approve $87 million proposal for improving learning spaces

By William Yanek, Online Editor

Lawrence voters on Tuesday approved $87 million worth of improvements to USD 497 middle schools and high schools — with significant improvements slated for Lawrence High.

Lawrence High’s 63-year-old building has been strained as class sizes have continued to grow and as the school’s infrastructure has continued to age. The district said learning spaces have become increasingly cramped, and the building has become outdated. (For more details on the bond issue click here.)

“I think it’s great. I think this campus has needed some love for a long time, and that’s what it comes down to,” athletic director Bill DeWitt said. “This [building] was built in the 1950’s well before Title IX. I’m thinking the athletic lens, so locker rooms, weight rooms and things like that, so more space will be nice.”

Some of the biggest improvements of the new bond issue include enlarging and modernizing classrooms, connecting the annex to the main building, and renovating areas such as gyms and locker rooms.

“I think my favorite improvement is probably going to be that we have larger classrooms,” English teacher Shannon Carriger said. “I think it will be nice to have a little more space for students to be a little more mobile in the classroom.”

A testament to the Lawrence community’s support of education, the bond issue passed with nearly 75 percent of the vote, according to the Lawrence Journal World.

“It shows the people who elected to fill out the ballot really care about Lawrence public schools,” Carriger said. “That’s a boost of confidence for students and teachers and staff that we have community support.”

However even with the passing of the bond, there is still work to be done to improve learning spaces at Lawrence High School.

“Over the next month is where we really design at the classroom level,” DeWitt said. “So we’ll all be able to give constant input as we move forward.”