School officials cut ribbon for early education center
Leavenworth's newest school has officially opened.
Representatives of the Leavenworth school district and Leavenworth-Lansing Area Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday for the Earl Lawson Early Education Center.
Following the ceremony, members of the public had the opportunity to tour the new school, which will house all of the school district's prekindergarten and kindergarten classes.
"It's absolutely a great day to be a pioneer," Leavenworth Superintendent Mike Roth said during the ceremony.
Pioneers is the team nickname for the Leavenworth public schools.
Roth said the Kansas commissioner of education proclaimed several years ago that he wanted the state to be a leader in education.
"We took that heart in Leavenworth," Roth said.
The superintendent said the Earl Lawson Early Education Center will give children a foundation like no other school in the area.
He called the main entryway of the new school as the "front door to USD 453," referring to Leavenworth's unified school district number.
The new school is the result of a $36.7 million bond issue that was approved by voters in 2018.
The bond issue payed for the renovation of the former Earl Lawson Elementary School to serve as the new early education center.
Roth said about $8.6 million from the bond issue were spent on the early education center.
The bond issue also paid for the construction of a new intermediate school and improvements at existing schools.
Ahead of the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Leavenworth High School, Richard Warren Middle School and Leavenworth Intermediate School were opened Wednesday afternoon for self-guided tours.
The intermediate school was completed last year. But district officials did not have a ribbon cutting for the building because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Leavenworth High School and Richard Warren Middle School received improvements as part of the bond issue.
Brandon Johannes, president and chief executive officer of the Chamber of Commerce, said there was a lot to celebrate Wednesday.
Leavenworth Board of Education President Judi Price said she is excited for the youngest pioneers who will begin their education at the Lawson building.
Price cut the ribbon Wednesday while surrounded by other representatives of the school district. Children who will be attending the Earl Lawson Early Education Center were invited to be seated in front of the group as the ribbon was cut.
Roth said he was pleased by what he considered a strong turnout for the event.
"We didn't know what to expect," he said. "This awesome."
Classes will begin at the Earl Lawson Early Education Center and other schools in the district Aug. 16.