How can an industrial city realize a post-industrial vision of education? Lawrence created six 500-student learning communities, each with its own headmaster, to form the new 3,000-student Lawrence High School campus. These individual academies enable students to explore their interests in business, health services, humanities and leadership, international studies, CAPACITY3,000COST PER SQ FT$145.00FEATURED IN2008 Architectural Portfolio or the arts.
Referencing the waterways that united the mills of industrial-era Lawrence, a curvilinear spine links all six academies to shared resources of the commons, media center, central administration building, fieldhouse and performing-arts center. The commons serves as a major indoor gathering space where students of different academies come together. The performing-arts center serves a community arts group, and four daycare centers support faculty and student parents.
The architecture of the academies recalls the mill buildings of the past. Each brick-clad academy is constructed economically of reinforced concrete block and precast plank. The spine is covered in polished zinc panels that create the illusion of water in motion. This internal thoroughfare encourages faculty and students to interact between classes.