By The Delta Informer Staff – Dermott, Ark. – May 16, 2022 – Over 200 family, friends, students, educators, administrators, and elected officials were on hand for the groundbreaking ceremony of the ate lDr. Marian G. Lacey K-8 Academy in Little Rock on May 4.
The new school is named in honor of the late Dr. Marian Glover Lacey, born and raised in Dermott and a Chicot County High School graduate. The Dr. Marian G. Lacey K-8 Academy is only the second building the Little Rock School District (LRSD) has named in honor of a woman.
The new state-of-the-art K-8 campus is steps closer to reality with the passage of the November 2021 millage extension that was approved by Little Rock voters to generate revenue to upgrade facilities to the tune of $300 million across the city’s namesake school district. The new Dr. Marian G. Lacey K-8 Academy will replace the former McClellan High School.
At an April 15 board meeting, the LRSD board voted 7-1 to name the new school for the late teacher, principal, and assistant superintendent in the district. Other names entertained by the board included keeping the John L. McClellan; Lacey; and Milton Pitts Crenchaw, the former Tuskegee Airman from Little Rock.
Dr. Lacey is a former educator, principal, and assistant superintendent at the Little Rock School District (LRSD) where she served for over 30 years before her death in 2017. Among other honors during her career, Dr. Lacey was named a Milken educator, and the highest teacher award in the LRSD is named in her honor. Her distinguished career includes service as a teacher in Eudora, Helena, and Clarendon. Her husband, Dr. JJ Lacey, Jr., originally from Vicksburg, MS, is also a former educator and administrator in the LRSD and southeast Arkansas.
Former Judge and Arkansas Rep. Don Glover, D-Dermott, Dr. Lacey’s brother, commended the event and attendance. He also noted that in addition to the groundbreaking, his sister was also honored by the City of Little Rock.
“The impressive crowd was evident of my sister’s life well-lived. It was particularly wonderful to have the larger ‘Dermott family’ and so many from southeast Arkansas share first-hand in this momentous, historic occasion, including Rev. Charles Graham, who sang the National Anthem and provided music,” said Glover. “The mayor of Little Rock, one of Marian’s former students, proclaimed May 4, 2022 as the Dr. Marian Glover Lacey Day. It was an amazing day.”
According to Cromwell Architects Engineers, the $87 million school, now under construction, will be the first school in the LRSD to house a tornado shelter. Located on a 13-acre site in southwest Little Rock, the school is designed to accommodate 1,400 students and over 258 teachers. Sixty-four classrooms, project labs, a media center, and other specialized spaces for teaching and learning are design features. The school will accommodate community events as well. Construction is expected to finish in late 2023.
The community and students played a big role in selecting the name for the new building, according to Darian Smith, the Director of Elementary Education at the LRSD. A vast majority of the vote supported naming the new building in honor of Dr. Marian Glover Lacey.
“In my view, this new school anticipates the future. Its cutting-edge design allows for visionary teaching and learning experiences to provide a strong educational foundation and vision for career interests during the formative years,” Glover said, adding that the new school is visionary.
Reflecting on his sister’s legacy, Glover expressed a shared family belief.
“It is my hope that everyone who enters this new school, children, teachers, parents and the community at-large, will experience the joy of teaching, learning, child development experiences, and other engagements in this building, as our dear sister, Marian, would desire. Her legacy is one of building hope and aspiration in each child,” he said.