Lewisville Leader > News
Community bids farewell to LHS
When the bell rang at 11:45 Thursday morning at Lewisville High School, it signaled more than just the end of the school year -- it signaled the end of an era.
After more than 40 years, Lewisville High School is getting a much needed facelift. The doors to LHS closed to the public after school Thursday. The main building will be demolished by July 1.
Construction began on the new LHS buildings August 2010 and it is slated to be complete by the beginning of the 2012-13 school year. Instead of renovating the current campus, district officials chose to completely rebuild the school including new gyms, a new cafeteria and a whole new main building.
"We first started talking about renovating the school in the spring of 2009," said Michal Perry, executive director for LISD construction. "The design process began shortly after that. We had an architect on staff, and we have communicated with him certain things we wanted such as leaving some grass area around the building and leaving the old oak trees in front of the current building."
On May 27, Lewisville ISD hosted a "One Last Look Around Lewisville High School." The community was given one final opportunity to visit the building before it closed to complete the last phase of the school's rebuild. Hundreds of former students toured the building reminiscing about what LHS used to be, what it currently is and what it could be.
"I love the new gym," one former student said. "It's nothing like what it was when we were here -- it's much better."
Former students were surprised to see the changes already visible at the school such as the three new wings, the new gyms and the new cafeteria.
Construction costs for the project are estimated at $47 million, and Buddy Bonner, central zone leader, said the contractors are on budget and on time for the expected completion date.
"We looked at what it would have cost for renovating the current building, and the costs were exorbitant," Bonner said. "It ended up being a better value to rebuild that to renovate the old building. We're able to support this project through the falling economy. We're getting materials at rock bottom prices, which is keeping our costs down."
The renovations are being completed in phases. Phase one began in August 2010 and included the building of three new gyms, a new cafeteria and a fine arts wing. Phase two included tearing down the old gyms and locker rooms. Phase three includes constructing the main building that will house three stories of classrooms, a library and the administration. The final phase includes tearing down the old building.
Once complete, LHS will have almost an entirely new, different look inside and out. The school will still feature the traditional maroon and white colors and will still face Main Street, but that's where the similarities between the two buildings end.
"The building will be smaller square footage wise, but there won't be as much wasted space. Also the school will sit further back from Main Street than it currently is," Perry said. "It will also be a more energy efficient building with better windows, air conditioning and better technology."
Already some teachers and students are enjoying the completed portions of the rebuild. History teacher Bessie Alexander was moved to the "E" wing, which was built in 1999 and will be included in the new building.
"I've seen a great deal of change here, and they've all been very positive," Alexander said. "I've been moved all over the building. Now that I'm in the E wing, I'm with all the other 11th grade teachers, which has been an awesome change. We now have the ability to collaborate with each other."
Marty Courtney, LHS band director, has also made the move to the newer portion of the school.
"It's a great facility for us, and we're still learning how to best use it. We have newer, updated technology that we get to use in the classrooms, and we've been able to get the whole band back together during practices," Courtney said.
Ernesto Flores, sophomore and LHS student body treasurer, said he is excited for construction to be complete because it means the debut of a new school.
"It's a little sad to see the old building go, but everyone is excited about the new technology and the new school as a whole," Flores said. "Once the new school is ready, LHS will be the top dogs of the district since our school will be the newest. I'm excited to be able to show off the new school."
LHS was built in 1966. In comparison, Marcus High School was built in the early 1980s and Flower Mound High School was built in the late 1990s.