New high school opens with safety and security in mind
Students, parents got their first look at Metro Nashville Public School’s new James Lawson High School, which replaces Hillwood High School.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Students and parents got a first look at a new Metro Nashville Public School high school in Bellevue on Thursday. James Lawson High School is a new state of the art facility students will be attending when school starts in two weeks.
The school has all the learning elements for up to 1,600 students. It has culinary kitchens, classrooms, even an ambulance for health science students.
“It’s definitely a lot getting used to,” said senior Sam Malone. “I’m going to be getting lost in these hallways the first day.”
“I know this has been long, and I mean long, going on nine years long transition,” said James Lawson Principal Stephen Sheaffer.
He said while the new building looks great inside and out, it’s also secure.
“The whole building was designed with safety in mind from the number of exterior entrances,” said Sheaffer. “We are down to one main entrance. That wasn’t the case at our previous building.”
Metro Nashville Public Schools Director of Schools Dr. Adrienne Battle said to keep kids safe they can’t disclose all the precautions they are taking. But she said the facility and other Metro schools will comply with new state laws thanks to funding from city and state grants.
“I will tell you some of our new enhancements are around accelerating the implementation of shatter proof glass, AI technology to detect weapons in our schools, increase camera access across our campuses,” Battle explained.
On those campuses she said will be school resource officers.
“We’re working closely with MNPD to create a comprehensive plan to make sure that we do have coverage and MNPD officers at every one of our MNPS campuses,” said Battle.
“We get two SRO’s and they’ve both been with us,” said Sheaffer. According to Metro Nashville Police Department’s plan, each high school will get two SROs.
James Lawson has a lot to show, and Malone hopes it will be worth it.
“I’m pretty excited,” he said. “A big jump from going to falling apart Hillwood to going to brand new Lawson they’ve been building for over eight years.”
James Lawson will replace Hillwood High School. That campus will become a community-based site for other MNPS schools to use.
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