There’s a new school on the block and it’s called Lakeland Middle Preparatory School (LMPS).
The second facility in the Lakeland School System (LSS) will be dedicated at 4:30 p.m. Sunday (7.30.17) with an open house to follow ribbon-cutting and dignitaries’ remarks.
Dr. Ted Horrell, LSS superintendent, and Matt Adler, LMPS principal, will host the public as well as elected and appointed officials at the event for the new $20 million school.
Performing for the first time will be the LMPS choir, singing the National Anthem, according to Mr. Adler.
LMPS is at 5020 Lions Crest Drive which can be accessed by taking Canada Road just north of the intersection of Canada Road and U.S. Highway 70 and then turning right into the site on the newly constructed Campus Drive.
The new school will welcome more than 600 fifth through eighth grade students during the 2017-18 school year which begins Aug. 7. LMPS joins Lakeland Elementary School (LES) as the second school in the LSS and will allow the system to grow from a K-5 system with approximately 940 students to a K-8 system with approximately 1,500 students in its first year.
Located at 10050 Oak Seed Lane, LES was built in 2001 while still a part of the Shelby County School System and becomes a K-4 school this year.
Along with other municipalities in Shelby County, Lakeland formed its own school system when Memphis City Schools surrendered its charter and became Shelby County Schools
The new school site is part of 94-acres that will eventually hold not only the middle school but a future high school and a full collection of athletic facilities. There is no timetable for the completion of the high school or athletic facilities.
Three years ago the middle school was just an idea and two years ago it was just a bunch of dirt. Today it is a 112,000 square-foot facility with many unique features awaiting students and parents.
- The Lions Crest emblem is prominent above the main entrance to the new school.
- A two-story foyer welcomes all to the new building.
- Name plates to offices, rooms and classrooms are blue, more aesthetically appealing said Mr. Adler.
- Student restrooms are ceramic tiled and labeled “Ladies” and “Gentlemen.” “It speaks to the expectations we have for students, “said Mr. Adler.
- The Lions Den or Makerspace will allow students to imagine, build, create and develop their ideas into tangible projects.
- The library is spacious with Chromebook stations and soft furniture. All students will have Chromebooks, which are laptops running Google’s Chrome OS. They will be kept by students throughout the school year and returned at the end of the second semester.
- Classrooms have interactive projectors with a smart wall facilitating easy instruction for students and by teachers. Also included in each room is a standing table and tall chairs. Adler said students like the idea of sitting in a tall chair, so the furniture can be used as incentives, or just for teachers to help students with their work.
- There are two state-of-the-art science labs where the teacher table can rise 6” to better explain and view experiments.
- From the back of the school is a view of recreational fields used for football practice now. LMPS teams are playing games in Bartlett and Millington now because there are no goalposts or lights on the fields.
- At the end of the fifth-sixth grade hallway is a view to the lobby or atrium. The second floor meeting room in that area offers views not only of the atrium but also the front of the campus.
- The central stairwell allows views of the front of the campus from a large window.
- Two expansive art rooms are part of the campus with lots of cabinets, drawers and space for large art projects.
- The cafeteria will seat 350 and includes a full working back stage. Mr. Adler says that means you can connect from one side to the other. He expects the school drama club to take advantage of this feature.
- There is a choir room, band room and practice rooms, with lots of space for instruments.
- The gym has hardwood floors with the Lion crest in the center of the floor, bleachers on both sides and seating for 900. Adler said acoustic quality will be excellent because of acoustical panels and brick.
Mr. Adler explained academics at LMPS: “Fifth grade will follow a similar schedule as in LES. Sixth through eighth grades will have four core courses: English Language Arts, Math, Social Studies and Science. They will also have an exploratory course chosen between STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), Creative Writing and World Language. Students also will choose between Art, PE, Choir, Band or Strings. Eighth grade students will have choices for the following high school courses – Algebra I, Physical Science or Spanish.”
When not in the classroom, students will have extracurricular activities: Cheerleading, Dance/POM, Football, Volleyball, Cross Country, Girls and Boys Basketball. Dr. Horrell said the teams are practicing and the cheerleaders already earned their first trophies over the summer.
“There are lots of things going on,” said Dr. Horrell. “We have a great collection of teachers with average experience of 8¼ years. They are very anxious to get started.”
… Photos by Jim Willis, Lakeland Currents.