LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP, Ind. — Construction crews are a year into millions of dollars in renovations at Lawrence Central and Lawrence North high schools.
“We are in history-making mode here at Lawrence Township,” said Rodger Smith, the Chief Operating Officer at MSD Lawrence Township.
The projects are funded by a $191 million referendum voted on by the people of Lawrence Township in November 2019.
Smith said a majority of that money, about $80 million each, is going to either high school for full-scale renovations.
“We’re touching this building floor to ceiling, wall to wall and also behind the wall,” said Smith, standing in Lawrence North High School.
Similar renovations are happening at Lawrence Central, as well.
Already, a new kitchen and a new performing arts wing are complete at Lawrence Central.
At Lawrence North, new classrooms and a new life skills area are finished and a new 50-meter pool is also being built.
Overall, both schools will get new infrastructure like HVAC and security measures, along with a new three-story addition.
“It’s going to be a gateway to Lawrence, the city of Lawrence, it’s going to be a gateway to our high schools,” Smith said.
The renovations have both school principals excited for obvious reasons, but it’s been a long wait.
“Now we’re going to walk into classrooms that meet the needs of students in 2030 and it doesn’t go back to the 1996 renovation or the 1974 construction of this building,” said Brett Crousore, the principal at Lawrence North High School.
Lawrence Central was built in 1964, and there’s never been a renovation of this size at the school.
All of this construction is happening as students are still learning in the buildings.
“Our teachers have persevered; our support staff has helped us with every type of move we’ve ever had to make,” said Crousore.
Franklyn Bush, the Lawrence Central High School Principal, said kids have been great with the renovations, but there have been some challenges.
“It’s the new locations, finding classrooms or finding office spaces, our cafeteria is different this year, our media center is in a new spot,” Bush said.
School leaders have had to get creative to find new places for students to eat, learn and perform during this time.
Bush said he’s most looking forward to the simple aspects of the renovations
”Just being comfortable,” he said. “We’re able to better control the temperature of our building, we’re able to modernize our learning furniture.”
Smith said both renovations are on budget and on a tight timeline, with a projected finishing date in the 2023-2024 school year.