Our School

Welcome to James Lawson High School


Lawson is State-of-the-Art

James Lawson High School, a 300,000-square-foot replacement facility for Hillwood High School, sits on 274 acres of rolling hills and expansive vistas in Nashville's Bellevue neighborhood. 

The new school facility serves a 1,600 student body in four career academies.
The new school building also has an abundance of natural light and modern, technology-rich classrooms and learning spaces plus outdoor courtyards and a magnificent theater and sports complex.
picture view of new athletic fields

Student work and creativity will always be on full display at Lawson, which provides Academy students with state-of-the-art classrooms and tools in spaces unique to their interests and Academy identity. There's also new and unique art spaces and science labs and a beautiful library that overlooks a welcoming common area. 

Design Inspired by Natural Beauty

The design concept for this new high school draws inspiration from the history and natural beauty of its location.

Adjacent to the Harpeth River, the school actively engages with the natural beauty of the hills, forest, river, and meadows that define the site. The serrated brick facades are inspired by the surrounding limestone. Terraced academic levels open onto landscaped courtyards and outdoor terraces.

Natural grasses and plants will be on the green roof and the campus, plus rainwater will be captured for toilet flushing or diverted to bioretention areas that display sustainability as a learning opportunity.

School Named for an Icon

The high school is named for the Rev. James Lawson, a Civil Rights activist and champion of nonviolent activism, who also is a Vanderbilt University Distinguished Professor, emeritus. The Metro Nashville Board of Education voted unanimously in November 2021 in favor of the name.


Lawson Fast Facts

  • Campus: 274 acres
  • School grounds: ~ 40 acres
  • School building: 340,000 square feet
  • Gym seating: 1600 in bleachers
  • Auditorium seating: 500 persons
  • Library: ~ 5,000 square feet
  • Cafeteria: ~ 2,000 square feet
  • Green roof: 11,600 gross square feet
  • Courtyards: 6 courtyards, including one next to the green roof in the cafeteria.


Meet the Lawson Lightning

The Big Reveal video is from the event unveiling the new high school's colors, logo and mascot. Plus, there's great information about athletics, the arts and the building design itself.

Lawson Junior Christine Tran Selected as Board of Education Student Member

Our own Christine Tran, a rising junior, will be the next student member of the MNPS Board of Education. Tran was appointed after selection committee members reviewed applications and interviewed rising juniors from across the district for the position. To read more about Tran and the selection process, visit MNPS' news page.


Lawson School Tours

Lawson High School Social Media

Follow official Lawson High School accounts on social media.