SOURCE: Lawrence Public Schools

October 28, 2007 12:00 ET

Lawrence Public Schools Dedicates New State-of-the-Art High School Campus

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Other Elected Officials Help Celebrate the Opening of $110M, 42-Acre Campus

LAWRENCE, MA--(Marketwire - October 28, 2007) - The Lawrence Public Schools today held the official dedication of the new state-of-the-art Lawrence High School campus. Comprised of six different academies, Lawrence High School features one of the nation's most cutting edge facility designs and most progressive curriculum plans.

Students choose between six small thematic schools -- each housed in separate building -- that define their path towards college readiness. The Business Management and Finance High School; Health and Human Services High School; Humanities and Leadership Development High School; International High School; Math, Science and Technology High School; and the Performing and Fine Arts High School each provide students the specialized instruction, technology and resources necessary to turn the dream of college success into a reality.

Joining Lawrence City Mayor Michael J. Sullivan and Lawrence Public Schools Superintendent Wilfredo T. Laboy at the dedication were Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick; Massachusetts State Treasurer Tim Cahill; Executive Director of the Massachusetts School Building Authority, Katherine Craven; UMass Lowell Chancellor, Marty Meehan; Mayor of the City of Lawrence, Michael J. Sullivan; Lawrence City Council President, Patrick Blanchette; State Senator, Sue Tucker; State Representative, David Torrisi; State Representative, William Lantingua; State Representative, Barry Finegold; and Provost of Nova Southeastern University, Dr. H. Wells Singleton.

"The Lawrence High School Campus is the new 21st Century prototype for the conversion of large urban high schools into small, stand-alone thematic secondary schools," said Dr. Laboy. "This marks a very proud day for our city, as the dedication of this remarkable facility is testament to our community's commitment to creating a legacy of learning for our children and helping them to attain success in life."

The six thematic high schools were designed to create a more intimate, small community learning environment to foster educational success. Each of the schools, housed in separate facilities, functions independently with its own building administration and provides teachers and students with all of the resources necessary for four years of instruction in their area of focus. With smaller student populations of approximately 500 students per school and faculty size of approximately 35 per school, there is a heightened sense of community, responsibility and collaboration; thus diminishing the anonymity that characterizes many larger student bodies.

The six thematic schools give students the ability to study with like-minded peers. Students of each school are distinguished from one another by color-coded uniforms specific to their area of study. This sense of identity and belonging is essential in helping students take ownership of their academic experience. While students do not commit to a career path or academic major, they can embrace a theme (such as Business or Performing Arts) that interests them. All instruction in the core subject areas as well as elective courses is taught through the lens of each school's particular theme. This approach provides essential core instruction while heightening students' interest level and providing a unique educational experience in each school.

The six school principals and a campus-wide director of curriculum development are under the direction of Headmaster Thomas Sharkey. Previously, Dr. Sharkey served as principal of Lawrence High School prior to its relocation and reorganization into the six school model.

The State of Massachusetts and the City of Lawrence invested $110M in the new Lawrence High School, which is already being lauded by educators across the country for its progressive approach to fostering individual student growth and a college-going mindset. The campus, designed by Flansburgh Associates with construction managed by Heery International, is the single largest high school to be constructed in the state of Massachusetts.

"Lawrence is making good use of our fiscally responsible pay-as-you-go construction payment plan," stated Treasurer Tim Cahill. "If not for our reform plan, Lawrence would have had to borrow for the cost of the full project and then wait for at least 20 years for reimbursement by the state. Instead, this state-of-the-art construction project is being audited and reimbursed monthly."

Situated prominently near Route 495, Lawrence High School serves as a gateway to the community. With its six four-story academy buildings, the campus architecture is reminiscent of the city's numerous mills that line Merrimack River, which were the basis of Lawrence's industrial growth dating back more than 150 years.

Each of the 147 classrooms on campus features at least four computers with access to online instruction materials that can be used individually or integrated into classroom lessons using installed projectors and large flat screen monitors. The campus offers students a 200-seat library and media center, a 1,257-seat Performing Arts Center, a 150-seat lecture hall, and a large professional development center for teachers. Four on-site child care centers allow students and faculty peace of mind for their child care needs, and a large and comprehensive health center addresses the basic medical needs of students. The 1,000-seat cafeteria minimizes the number of lunch periods needed, maximizing instructional time. A new 3,400-seat field house and newly renovated Lawrence Memorial Stadium give the district one of the largest and most modern athletic facilities in the state. The six schools and the main building -- which houses the cafeteria, central administration, field house, and media center -- are connected via a bridge walkway, providing easy and safe access to all parts of campus.

The dedication ceremony, which featured comments by the superintendent and several elected officials, also included performances by some of the school's musical ensembles. Following a ribbon cutting ceremony, members of the community were invited on a guided tour of the 565,000 square foot facility.

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Collin Earnst
    The Haselton Group (for Lawrence Public Schools)
    Email Contact