LAWRENCE, Kan. — For most students at Lawrence High School, Wednesday was their first day back, but due to construction their start was a week late.
The district said the first of their six-phase construction project is delayed. Heavy rainfall, power outages and more asbestos than they expected was the cause.
“Our focus is on students and making sure they feel welcome, and making sure they have a successful start to school, and the Lawrence High Staff has been phenomenal,” said Julie Boyle, executive director of communications for Lawrence Schools.
In total, 35 classrooms are affected, including sciences, health and wellness, world languages and innovation rooms.
Teachers, however, didn’t get the first week of school off work. Boyle said they used the time to get creative.
“The teachers have used all their creativity and flexibility to come up with a plan for today, and that includes using those big spaces in school,” Boyle said. “There’s no reason for a cafeteria to be empty other than lunch, so they will use that for classes. They have a nice big full auditorium at Lawrence High, so they’ll use that as well. Black box theater, two gymnasiums so they can have classes scheduled in the gym.”
Some teachers are combining classes with others that have smaller numbers. Other teachers are letting classes use their rooms during their planning periods.
The 65-year-old building is getting a huge revamp that will include several halls with different focuses. The new innovation hall will have large open windows and a mural that will be painted at some point down the road.
Boyle said although it did cause an inconvenience to some parents, most people have given positive feedback about the late start. She said they’re truly sorry for the delay.
“It was unforeseen circumstances,” Boyle said. “We would have loved to have everything ready for students on that day. We got a lot of positive feedback from students. They appreciated having a little bit of extra summer break. Maybe their work schedule had ended, so they got a little bit of extra summertime when school started yesterday for our freshmen and today for all of our high-schoolers.”
Boyle said instead of tacking the five days onto the end of the school year and eating into the students upcoming summer vacation, they added five minutes onto each school day. She said students start school at 8 a.m. instead of 8:05 a.m., and it did not affect any bus schedules.