PBS and NPR for Southwest Florida
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
News

Lehigh Acres Middle School Opens Its New Doors This School Year

Lehigh Acres Middle School Principal Dr. Brian Gibson cuts the ceremonial ribbon at the opening of the new school campus..jpg
Cary Barbor
/
WGCU
Lehigh Acres Middle School Principal Dr. Brian Gibson cuts the ceremonial ribbon at the opening of the new school campus.

As students, teachers, and staff prepare to get back into the familiarity of the classroom, one Lee County middle school is welcoming them all with some major upgrades, including a new location.

Lehigh Acres Middle School Principal Dr. Brian Gibson cuts the ceremonial ribbon at the opening of the new school campus.

Drenched in crimson, gold, and silver, the new Lehigh Acres Middle School — or LAMS for short — ribbon-cutting ceremony is full from floor to ceiling with excitement as Principal Dr. Brian Gibson cuts the ceremonial cord with oversized gold scissors engraved with the words “The School District of Lee County.”

Lehigh-Acres-Middle-School-Campus.jpg
Tara Calligan, WGCU
Lehigh Acres Middle School campus entrance. Construction on new the new school began in February 2020. The school was completed on July 15th with a total project cost not to exceed $54.2 million.

The location is modern, spacious, and thoughtfully designed with the purpose behind each classroom in mind. The STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) Magnet School was completed on July 15 with a total project cost of $54.2 million dollars.

Dr. Gibson said this means a fresh start for the students and community of Lehigh.

“Being able to have new technology, new everything, I think our kids deserve that. When you’re in a school, that could be sometimes tough, I think nonetheless we need to provide them with an environment that’s refreshing so that they could be refreshed as well,” said Dr. Gibson.

And by “new everything,” he means everything.

Lehigh Acres Middle School New Building Overview

LAMS is also an AVID school. Avid stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination. Classrooms are all fitted with Promethean boards — a big upgrade from a “Smartboard” that allows for easier tech integration into classes. Courses run the educational gamut from robotics, video game, and app development, to dance, theatre and CrossFit.

With three stories full of labs and classrooms and hallways close to 15-feet wide, it could be easy to lose your way on the first day of school.

Lehigh-Acres-Middle-School-Seventh-Grader-Julian-Harris.jpg
Tara Calligan, WGCU
Lehigh Acres Middle School Seventh Grader Julian Harris at the new LAMS campus before the 2021 school year begins. Harris' favorite subject is math and he is anxiously awaiting the first day of school on August 10, 2021. He worries he will get lost trying to find his classes on the first day, but is excited to get the year started.

12-year-old Julian Harris thinks his second year at LAMS is going to be an entirely new experience.

“It’s a big change, I gotta get used to it,” said Harris. “I just hope I don’t get lost on the first day.”

LAMS was one of the highest selected schools in Lee County school choice this year.

Gwynetta Gittens is on the Lee County School Board representing District 5. A former teacher at LAMS, Gittens wants the community to know that it’s not the shiny new building that makes LAMS the school students want to attend, it’s the kind of education they receive there.

“But the learning is the most important piece,” said Gittens. ”It’s what we send out from these halls into the world to be the best that they can be.”

As for the first day of school, Dr. Gibson is anxiously awaiting one thing…

“The smiles of the kids,” said Dr. Gibson. “Actually seeing smiles and faces of kids.”