History of Lawrence Elementary

  • Lawrence Elementary School was actually completed in the spring of 1953 and used as an annex for Meridian Elementary School that spring. It was officially opened as a school in the fall of 1953. Glenn E. Benedick was the architect for the 14-room building which cost approximately $190,000. Dedication ceremonies were held November 15, 1953.

    An addition of seven classrooms, a library, a multipurpose room, office and restrooms was constructed in 1976. Platt Associates were the architects. The approximate cost of the addition was $665,000.

    The school was named for Robert E. Lawrence who came to Wichita as a young man, arriving here in May 1870. He made his way on foot to Illinois, selling stencils to earn his way. He taught a short term of school in Illinois and thus was able to buy a team and wagon to complete the journey into Kansas.

    Soon after his arrival in Wichita he homesteaded a quarter section of land south and west of Maple and Seneca Streets where he farmed and raised cattle. Today, the Kansas Masonic Home stands upon the site of Maplewood, the spacious stone residence that Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence completed in 1888.

    As the city expanded, Mr. Lawrence engaged in various business enterprises: banking, real estate operations and commercial building construction. Along with his business activities, Mr. Lawrence devoted much time to civic affairs. He was an early member of the Wichita Board of Education, served in the Kansas State Legislature, and through his lifetime was a devoted member of the Presbyterian Church.

    At the beginning of the 1988-89 year, sixth grade students were incorporated into the middle school program, leaving a K-5 enrollment of around 450.

    In April 2000, the voters of the Wichita School District approved a $284.5 million bond issue. The projects began in the fall of 2000 and were completed over the next five years. The plan built 19 multipurpose rooms, upgraded science labs, replaced portable classrooms with permanent construction, improved handicap accessibility to all buildings, rebuilt five existing elementary schools, added a new elementary and middle school, expanded seven other elementary schools and provided nine new libraries as well as the expansion of nine others. Building infrastructure in 82 buildings was also upgraded, including the replacement of antiquated plumbing, updates and expansion of electrical systems, replacement of inefficient or broken windows and doors, upgrades of heating and cooling systems, and asbestos abatement when required.

    The Bond project gave Lawrence a new addition, including four classrooms and a student support center. The district utilized Architectural Innovations LLC and Robl Commercial Construction to complete this project.

    The project bond celebration was held November 23, 2004.

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