Cair Paravel Latin School
of Cair Paravel Latin School
In 1980, a small group of families seeking the very best in education for their children founded Cair Paravel School. They did not represent a certain church, organization, or political persuasion. However, they were friends who shared a common vision for educating their children.
Several of the founders were shaped by their participation in the Integrated Humanities Program at the University of Kansas. They wanted to establish an educational experience that would culminate in similar dynamic learning. In addition to KU professors, the greatest influence on the founders was the twentieth century Christian philosopher and author, C.S. Lewis. The founders adopted the school’s name from Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia and the castle of Cair Paravel.
In 1984, Cair Paravel purchased the former Clay Elementary School building for $150,000. It was designed in the tudor style by renowned architects Thomas Wilson Williamson and Ted Greist in 1926, To the school founders, the architecture and aesthetics of the vacant building with its arching windows, terrazzo tile floors, and warm woodwork were a perfect fit.
Merged with Topeka Latin School
In 1987, Cair Paravel merged with Topeka Latin School and for the first time offered classes in 7th-12th grades. Later that year, a graduation ceremony recognized the first three graduates in school history.
Adding a Gymnasium
In 1991 a gymnasium, locker rooms, kitchen, and dedicated science laboratory were added.
Committed to Fine Arts
In 1993, the original gymnasium was transformed into theater to support the growing performing arts program. The new space was dedicated as the Stone Table Theater as another homage to the Chronicles of Narnia. It featured around 150 seats, a backstage, technical room, and a two-story stone turret on each end of the stage. The existing balcony was expanded to create a small library on the west end.
Leading the Way
In 1994, Cair Paravel Latin School joined with nine other Classical Christian Schools to became charter members of the Association of Classical Christian Schools. The organization is dedicated to promoting and equipping schools that are committed to a classical approach in the light of a Christian worldview. As of 2023, ACCS has grown to serve over 475 ACCS member schools educating more than 62,000 students across the country.
In 1995, a cafeteria was added on the west side of the gymnasium and two classrooms were built above the new cafeteria on the 2nd floor. The space also accommodated the first set of hallway lockers.
In 2001, two free-standing modular office units were added to the north end of the campus to provide 4 additional classrooms as a temporary solution to the growing enrollment.
In 2001, students began wearing uniforms to reflect respect for authority, help reduce distractions, and to forge a distinctive school culture. Concerns about the burden of paying for school uniforms prompted volunteers to maintain a closet filled with donated uniforms that families can take at no charge. This closet is still available year-round and is heavily utilized by families to save money.
In 2002, a classroom featuring an original fireplace with a travertine surround from the 1926 building was repurposed to create a more-expansive library. Custom built bookcases that closely matched the original woodwork gave the space a rich and traditional aesthetic.
Adding an Annex
In 2006, the commercial property on the SE corner of 6th & Clay was purchased and converted to provide two new classrooms for high school students.
In 2009, several properties on the east side of Clay Street were purchased and the existing homes were demolished. A practice field was created across the street from the gymnasium to be used by athletic teams and the physical education department.
In 2010, a classroom was renovated to create a larger library to encourage a love of great literature. The beautiful space features an original stone fireplace and wooden hearth from the 1926 building.
Serving Younger Students
The Little Lions Learning Center opened in 2014 to serve students from ages 3-5. There were 12 students on the original roster and they met in the former “Day Care House” located on campus.
Creation of a Third Floor
In 2016, an plan was proposed to transform the current unused attic into additional classroom space. It also created a new contemporary entryway with added security features. The largest Capital Campaign in the school’s history raised 2.1 million dollars for this project which allowed the school to remain debt free. The classrooms and new lobby were ready for the 2017-18 school year.
Most Beautiful Private Schools List
In 2018, Architectural Digest recognized Cair Paravel in an exclusive top 50 list of the Most Beautiful Private High Schools In America.
Enrollment Goal Met
The original school founders imagined a day when the school would grow to have two homerooms in every grade from K-12. Steady enrollment growth caused the school to reach this milestone in 2019.
Little Lions Expands
Growing interest in the program created long waitlists which prompted the need to move the program into what was previously referred to as the Annex. A renovation of that space doubled the square footage and provided the space to serve up to 40 students, ages 2 1/2 – 5. Two distinct classrooms were created to serve the needs of younger preschool students separately from those students who would enter kindergarten the following year.
CPLS became a full KSHAA Member and entered into 1A division competition.
In 2022, the school celebrated its first KSHSAA State Championship in school history (Cheerleading).
Enrollment growth moved the school into the 2A KSHSAA division.
In the summer of 2023, CPLS launched a capital campaign for the most ambitious expansion plan in school history. The design will add seven new classrooms, an extension to the cafeteria/common room, weight room, guest locker rooms, and additional offices. A new parking lot at the SE corner of 7th and Buchanan will add 33 additional parking spots.
Construction on the North Addition is planned for completion with the hope to occupy in the fall of 2025.