Lawrence Voters Invest in Secondary School Improvements

construction timeline

December 11, 2017, Bond Construction Update Work Session
The Lawrence Board of Education met for a work session at 6 p.m. on December 11, 2017, to review schematic designs for additions and renovations at Free State High School. The improvements are the result of the successful $87 million bond election approved by voters last May. Chief Operations Officer Kyle Hayden reviewed the bond project timeline, sharing that design development for the Free State High project should be completed by April, making way for the bid and pre‐construction process to begin.

"We're in a good place. We're on the same schedule that we anticipated when we started this process in August," said Hayden of the timeline.
Gould Evans, the architects on the Free State High project, surveyed staff and students and engaged a school-based Design and Construction Committee of staff and parents to generate ideas for meeting the project's goals, including creating 21st-century learning environments, accommodating a growing student population (2,000-student capacity), providing a safe and secure campus, accommodating student privacy, creating equity across the district and implementing strategic high-performance building systems upgrades.
In order to re-center an academic space as the heart of the school, Free State's design includes connecting the dining commons to a reimagined media center. Other improvements include adding a centrally located learning commons or multiuse space, creating secondary and tertiary learning spaces outside of classrooms, moving special education classrooms to the current media center location, addressing student privacy issues by remodeling restrooms and locker rooms, and adding eight classrooms to the east end of the building.
November 27, 2017, Board Approves Architectural Services Contracts
The Lawrence Board of Education approved agreements for architectural services with Clark Huesemann, TreanorHL, Gould Evans Associates and BG Consultants for 2017 bond construction projects.
August 14, 2017, Selection of Architectural Design Firms
The Lawrence Board of Education gave the green light to proceed with contract negotiations for architectural design and construction administration of the $87 million in secondary school facility improvements approved by voters on May 2, 2017. Following the school district’s request for qualifications, eight responses were received. Four firms were interviewed and evaluated on various criteria, including:
  • background and relevant experience.
  • fee structure.
  • management approach to communicating and collaborating with stakeholders.
  • information on sub-consultant engineering firms.
  • references.
  • understanding and approach to designing toward 21st-century teaching and learning. 
  • understanding the critical issues and challenges in these projects and having an approach to solving them.
The district will negotiate contracts with three local firms. Gould Evans will oversee the planning and design of Lawrence High and Free State High Schools. Clark|Huesemann will lead projects at all four middle schools, and Treanorhl will design improvements to the Lawrence College and Career Center. Henderson Engineers will partner on mechanical, electrical, and plumbing upgrades on both high school projects. It is anticipated that contracts will be ready for board approval in September. 
About our architectural, design and engineering partners:
Gould Evans, a local firm with a national presence, is led by John Wilkins, a long-time Lawrence resident. Gould Evans has worked with Lawrence Public Schools for more than 20 years, including leading the development of the secondary facility master plan and designing renovations at Cordley, Hillcrest, New York, Sunset Hill, Pinckney and Woodlawn Elementary Schools, as part of the 2013 school bond issue. Gould Evans brings an innovative, research-based approach to planning and designing schools. They know how to successfully engage the school community and lead us toward solutions that truly support 21st-century learning.
Clark/Huesemann's Steve Clark and Jane Huesemann have worked together more than 20 years in Lawrence and have a proven track record of successful projects in our community and beyond. More than 90% of their work has been renovation projects. They have demonstrated an ability to successfully transform outdated spaces into state of the art educational environments and have worked on projects in all four of our middle schools.
Henderson Engineers' team is led by Doug Everhart, a resident of Lawrence and the lead designer on multiple school projects completed as part of the 2013 bond issue. He also assisted the district in its secondary school facility master planning process. Having consistency in this area will serve the district well.
Treanorhl, a Lawrence firm for more than 30 years, has also been closely connected to the district. They have worked on more than 50 K-12 school projects and have extensive experience designing career-centered learning environments, including spaces for culinary arts, manufacturing, engineering, video production and graphic design, all of which are facets of the improvements slated for the Lawrence College and Career Center. Architects of the Boys and Girls Club of Lawrence teen center, Treanorhl is led by Chris Cunningham of Lawrence. The Don and Beverly Gardner Center for Great Futures will be an addition to the Lawrence College and Career Center.  
July 3, 2017, Update
The Lawrence Board of Education voted on July 3, 2017, to proceed with contract negotiations for Construction Manager at Risk services from McCownGordon Construction and MarLan Construction for its 2017 school bond projects. The board selected McCownGordon to oversee an estimated $68 million in construction at Lawrence High, Free State High, and all four middle schools, and MarLan Construction to lead approximately $600,000 in construction at the Lawrence College and Career Center. Chief Operations Officer Kyle Hayden praised McCownGordon for successful oversight of nine of the district's 2013 school bond construction projects and noted that MarLan is working with the Boys and Girls Club of Lawrence on its new Teen Center, which will be connected to the College and Career Center. 

Following the successful completion of the 2013 school bond projects - on time and within budget, the district will continue using Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR) services for its secondary school improvements. CMAR is a delivery method that entails a commitment by the Construction Manager (CM) to deliver the project within a Guaranteed Maximum Price. The CM oversees the planning, design, and construction of the projects from beginning to end to control the timeline, cost, and quality. The CM sends all of the subcontracting work out for competitive bids, and then vets the bids to ensure that the district gets the best work for the lowest cost, maximizing the value of taxpayers' investment.

The district's Request for CMAR Qualifications led to responses from ten construction companies, five of which were selected to present proposals to the Facilities Planning Committee. The team evaluated the proposals on a dozen criteria, including experience/references, cost and site management, fee structure, construction plan, and local business utilization. Hayden noted that of the subcontractors hired by McCownGordon for the district's recent school construction projects, 70% were considered local or located within 30 miles of Lawrence.

The district expects to begin construction on the secondary school projects next summer, following the design development process. These upcoming school improvements are the result of voter approval of an $87 million school bond election on May 2. 

May 2, 2017, Update 
The Lawrence community approved the May 2, 2017, $87 million school bond election by a margin of 74.5% on a vote of 14,300 to 4,898. Voter turnout was 35%. This page includes background information about the bond issue goals, scope, and budget. Superintendent Kyle Hayden thanked the community for its support and for putting students first.
Background Information - Supporting Student-Centered Learning

May 2, 2017, Lawrence School Bond Mail-Ballot Election
The Goal: Create school environments that support personalized learning, student engagement, and success. 
Facilities Master Plan 
With elementary schools transformed into 21st-century learning environments thanks to the community’s support of its 2013 school bond election, the Lawrence Board of Education turned its attention to a facilities master planning process to address the needs of the middle and high schools, especially Lawrence High School. The board contracted Gould Evans Associates, which met with a Facilities Planning Committee, Lawrence High Steering Committee, and middle and high school administrators and staff, conducted focus groups and student surveys, visited districts with new high school facilities of similar size, and worked with engineering and construction firms on a comprehensive analysis of programmatic and building system needs. 
cover of facilities master plan
Public Survey
The district contracted with Patron Insight to conduct a scientific telephone survey to gauge public support of the projects identified in the facilities master plan. Here is a report detailing the results of the survey of 400 heads of households who are registered voters in USD 497: Patron Insight Community Telephone Survey
Board Approves Bond Resolution
On January 9, the school board voted unanimously to authorize and call for an $87 million, mail-ballot election on May 2.
The board approved asking USD 497 voters to decide this ballot question: 
Shall Unified School District No. 497, Douglas County, Kansas, (Lawrence), issue general obligation bonds in an amount not to exceed $87,000,000 to pay the costs to: construct additions to and renovate, improve, repair, equip and furnish Lawrence High School, the other existing secondary schools including Lawrence Free State High School, Liberty Memorial Central Middle School, South Middle School, Southwest Middle School, West Middle School, and the College and Career Center; to make technology improvements throughout the district; to undertake all other necessary improvements related thereto; and to pay fees and expenses related thereto; all pursuant to the provisions of K.S.A. 10-101 et seq., K.S.A 25-431 et seq., K.S.A. 25-2018(f), K.S.A. 72-6761 and K.S.A. 75-2315 et seq.?  
flyer with an overview of bond election information  
   Video Presentation: USD 497's May 2, 2017, School Bond Mail-Ballot Election (16 minutes)
The May 2, 2017, Lawrence School Bond Mail-Ballot Election: 


  • Creates flexible spaces to enhance students’ educational experiences through opportunities to collaborate, create and innovate.
  • Addresses equity across school facilities.
  • Improves safety and security. 
  • Accommodates student enrollment growth. 
  • Delivers energy-efficient, high-performance schools that promote student and staff wellness and success and generate cost savings. (Utility savings estimated at $100,000/year.)
schematic drawing of proposed improvements to LHS  
  • Provide a safe and secure campus
  • Create flexible student collaboration spaces 
  • Enlarge classrooms, corridors and kitchen 
  • Establish outdoor learning areas 
  • Modernize library media center
  • Renovate annex classrooms, auxiliary gym, natatorium, weight room, fine arts spaces, career and technical education areas, restrooms and locker rooms
  • Upgrade infrastructure and aging building systems
  • Make site improvements 
schematic drawing of proposed improvements to FSHS  

Free State High School (PDF)

  • Add classrooms and multi-purpose space to accommodate growth
  • Create flexible student collaboration spaces
  • Modernize library media center
  • Expand and improve parking and sidewalks
  • Upgrade infrastructure and aging building systems
  • Renovate restrooms and locker rooms 
 schematic drawing of proposed improvements to LMCMS  
schematic drawing of proposed improvements to SMS  
schematic drawing of proposed improvements to SWMS  
schematic drawing of proposed improvements to WMS  
All Middle Schools: LMCMS, SMS, SWMS, WMS (PDFs)
  • Create flexible student collaboration spaces
  • Modernize library media center
  • Upgrade infrastructure and aging building systems
  • Renovate restrooms and locker rooms 
Lawrence College and Career Center
  • Finish space to move culinary arts program from Holcom
  • Improve existing educational spaces
  • Prepare connection to future Boys and Girls Club Teen Center
Proposed Budget - $87 Million
Lawrence High - $50.8M
Free State High - $15.2M
West Middle School - $9.8M 
Liberty Memorial Central Middle School - $4.3M 
Southwest Middle School - $4.3M 
South Middle School - $1.8M
Lawrence College and Career Center - $600,000
Technology - Data and Information Management Systems - $200,000
2013 Bond Issue Construction Update
Deerfield's renovated library media center Schwegler's new courtyard Students use a flexible space for collaborative learning
Thanks to Lawrence voters’ approval of a $92.5 million school bond issue on April 2, 2013, the school district and its architectural, construction, and engineering partners have worked to improve facilities, enhance technology and expand career and technical educational opportunities for students. USD 497 has completed 20 of 21 projects, including the transformation of older central and east Lawrence elementary schools and construction of the Lawrence College and Career Center at 29th and Haskell Ave.
One project remains: Pinckney Elementary students and staff were relocated to East Heights for the 2016-17 school year, while their $6.8 million construction project takes place on their home campus. Scheduled to be complete by July of 2017, Pinckney’s improvements include new classrooms, kitchen and dining commons, a re-oriented entrance along Sixth Street with secure entry and office area, remodeling of existing classrooms and the library media center, and the addition of learning pockets. Pinckney will celebrate its 85th anniversary when the school reopens in August of 2017.  
(Pictured above: Deerfield's renovated library media center, Schwegler's renovated outdoor learning courtyard, and Cordley students using a new flexible learning space for collaboration.)

Architect Project Summaries Related to the 2013 Bond Issue:

  • Gould Evans Associates- Cordley, Hillcrest, Langston Hughes, New York, Sunset Hill, Woodlawn, and Pinckney.


  • BG Consultants -  Quail Run, Broken Arrow, Prairie Park, Sunflower and Liberty Memorial Central, South, Southwest, and West Middle Schools.


  • Sabatini - Kennedy, Schwegler, Deerfield, Lawrence College & Career Center and Free State and Lawrence High Schools

2013 Bond Issue Project Videos: