There is lots of natural light. Ginormous windows. Views of mature trees. A vaulted entryway.
A manse under construction in Lakeland?
In fact, it is the much-anticipated Lakeland Middle Preparatory School (LMPS) opening on 94 wooded acres in a mere few months.
The new facility should be open to teachers by mid-summer. Dr. Ted Horrell, Lakeland School System (LSS) superintendent, said, “Construction is on schedule and we look forward to welcoming our teachers back for in-service on July 31. We will allow teachers to prep their classrooms as early as is feasible and allowable by the fire marshal.” The first day for students is Aug. 7.
The address for the new school is 5020 Lions Crest Drive. It will be a right turn onto Campus Drive, off Canada Road, north of U.S. Highway 70. A second entrance will be off Old Brownsville Road, Lions Ridge, for school buses and service vehicles. The lion names reflect the school system mascot which is the Lion.
The expansive two-story building is obvious when turning onto Campus Drive. The new school will house all of Lakeland’s fifth through eighth graders. The fifth grade students will move from Lakeland Elementary School (LES) making that a K-fourth grade school. Sixth through eighth graders will come from Arlington Middle School.
Through this school year, Lakeland has been operating with an interlocal agreement with Arlington Community Schools for middle and high school attendance. The high school agreement will continue until numbers at Arlington High School dictate there is a need for a high school in Lakeland.
Dr. Horrell projects an initial enrollment of 600 students: 168 in grade 5; 171 in grade 7; and 112 in grade 8. Hours will be 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. with LES staying at 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Faculty and staff should number 60 to 70 and all students will be Lakeland residents except for children of Lakeland employees. Corrie Martin will be the only assistant principal, working with founding principal Matt Adler.
Alook inside the new school
- A vaulted main entrance with exposed beams, much natural light.
- A library designed with the Lakeland community in mind. Horrell said the library as well as the gym and cafetorium all can be accessed without entering the main school building. City officials will decide if they want to fund after hours staffing and security to allow the community to use those spaces, he added. There will be hard copy books but also eBooks and each student will have a Chromebook.
- The Lions’ Den or “makers space” for shop, engineering, art. A “get messy place” said Dr. Horrell.
- The cafetorium with stage extras should a community theater group have interest.
- The gym with wooden floors, two sets of roll-out bleachers, two scoreboards and cross-court basketball goals.
- A hallway leads to fine arts rooms (band, vocal and strings) and to the school bus drop-off and pick-up door.
- Exiting out a back door will be a future varsity gym and auditorium along with another classroom wing, when a high school is constructed.
- Upstairs overlooks the main lobby and a meeting room has a vista of the lobby as well as the tranquil outdoor space.
- Academic wings are on both floors with teacher workrooms and restrooms.
- Services: Before and after-school care, tutoring, full-time nurse, school resource officer and exceptional learning.
- Athletics: Boys and girls basketball, cheer, dance, cross country, volleyball and football. A cheerleading and pom informational meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. March 28 in the LES cafeteria. Contact Erin Wallace, firstname.lastname@example.org or Chris Crabtree email@example.com
- Academics: Core content, enriched and gifted, high school electives and exploratory classes.
- Fine arts: Band, strings, choir and visual arts.
The property was purchased in October 2015 for $1 million from Jones-Gilliland Group, LLC. The Lakeland School Board officially named the school in March 2016 and construction started in July 2016. It is financed through $20 million capital outlay notes, paid primarily through a 55-cent property tax approved in 2015.
Under way now is the process to hire staff for the new school. “Mr. (Matt) Adler is continuing to both interview and hire for certified (teaching) positions for the school. Classified positions will post toward the end of March. Twenty-eight of 37 classified positions are filled. That includes some teachers who moved over from LES, said Dr. Horrell.
To officially open the new venue, Dr. Horrell said, “We are watching the schedule and look forward to a ribbon cutting, but don’t have any plans to announce at this time.”
And about that community enthusiasm? “Literally every day someone asks, ‘How’s the new school coming?’ We also have lots of parents from the community tell us how excited they are for their child to attend the new school. Mr. Adler and Ms. Martin have done a tremendous job on the details, and we can’t wait to get things up and running,” said Dr. Horrell.
For additional details, contact Mr. Adler at 867-7071 or firstname.lastname@example.orgClick To View LMPS Images
Photos by Jim Willis, Lakeland Currents