A special kind of homecoming

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On April 17, the high school celebrated the reopening of its auditorium with a special ceremony, which included a ribbon-cutting and musical and dance performances by students. It was also a celebration of the school winning a $3,000 gift card from Lowe’s in a nationwide contest in partnership with the NBC TV show “Smash.”

Sandy’s floodwaters damaged the auditorium’s carpeting, seats and wood paneling, as well as equipment stored under the stage, including about 10 percent of the lighting equipment.

“The performing arts program is a jewel in Lawrence,” said Superintendent Gary Schall, a former district music coordinator. “There were many performances scheduled to take place right after [Hurricane Sandy]. They were moved to the middle school. This is the first concert of the school year in the high school auditorium, and the one that celebrates its reopening. It reflects the spirit of our Lawrence family and is a shining moment.”

That shining moment came nearly four months after district officials announced the closing of the high school in January. The building’s electrical wiring was corroding due to saltwater incursion. A relocation plan was implemented, and 975 high school students, along with teachers and administrators, were moved to Lawrence Middle School, which was originally the high school.

Approximately 475 middle school students were shifted to two of the district’s three elementary schools. Fifth-grade middle school students went to the Number Five School in Cedarhurst, and sixth-graders moved to the Number Two School in Inwood. All available classroom space in those buildings was used for instruction, along with libraries and auditoriums. Ten classrooms were created out of office space in the middle school.

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