School projects wrap­ping up

New build­ings are a re­sponse to grow­ing en­roll­ment

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NORTH­WEST ARKANSAS - BRENDA BER­NET

Stu­dents who ar­rive on the first day of school next month will see new spa­ces across Ben­ton and Wash­ing­ton coun­ties.

Con­struc­tion crews are busy fin­ish­ing de­tails on new build­ings be­fore turn­ing them over to school of­fi­cials. School main­te­nance and re­pair crews have fit projects within the short win­dow be­tween the last day of school and the start of a new school year.

Pub­lic and pri­vate schools will spend mil­lions on larger build­ing projects. New build­ings are a re­sponse to grow­ing en­roll­ment, while other ren­o­va­tions re­fresh class­rooms and make cam­puses more com­fort­able for stu­dents.

Fire of­fi­cials tested fire alarms at the new the Farm­ing­ton High School on Fri­day, with the sound of, “A fire has been re­ported in the build­ing. Please pro­ceed calmly to the near­est exit. Please do not use the el­e­va­tors” heard in­side and out­side the build­ing.

Fur­ni­ture will be moved into the build­ing this week, and Farm­ing­ton High School Prin­ci­pal Jon Pu­ri­foy ex­pects to get keys to the build­ing at the be­gin­ning of Au­gust. School starts Aug. 16 in Farm­ing­ton.

“We are so ready to get into that,” Pu­ri­foy said. “We can’t hardly wait.”

Cab­i­netry, ta­bles and white boards are up in class­rooms. Ta­bles, chairs, booths and some couches have been moved into the cafe­te­ria. An­chor points for flat-screen

tele­vi­sions are up in the cafe­te­ria.

Stu­dents will be able to watch the news, weather, The His­tory Chan­nel and sports at lunch, Pu­ri­foy said. Space above the me­dia cen­ter is de­signed for stu­dents to have a place to charge cell­phones and com­put­ers.

There will be class­rooms de­signed for broad­cast­ing sport­ing events, mak­ing sound record­ings, weld­ing and learn­ing nurs­ing skills and bio­med­i­cal and en­gi­neer­ing projects, he said.

“It’s a lot of hands-on project-based learn­ing,” Pu­ri­foy said. “It’s pretty amaz­ing to see it live.”


Osage Ele­men­tary and Creek­side Mid­dle schools are near­ing com­ple­tion for the start of school next month.

“Nat­u­rally, the open­ing of Osage Creek Ele­men­tary and Creek­side Mid­dle School are pri­or­ity, but we also use this time to tend to projects across the dis­trict,” dis­trict spokes­woman Leslee Wright said. “We want all stu­dents to en­joy a safe clean build­ing when they re­turn next month.”

Projects on other cam­puses in­clude paint­ing hall­ways, re­plac­ing heat­ing-and-air-con­di­tion­ing units, in­stalling new car­pet and tile, seal­ing and strip­ping park­ing lots and roof re­pairs, Wright said. Plumb­ing and elec­tri­cal work are tak­ing place at Thomas Jef­fer­son Ele­men­tary, Old High Mid­dle School and Ben­tonville High School.

The sum­mer to-do list also in­cludes projects for play­grounds, re­strooms, fences, cam­pus se­cu­rity, tree re­moval and lawn main­te­nance, equip­ment up­grades in school kitchens and the re­moval of por­ta­ble build­ings at Cen­ter­ton Gam­ble Ele­men­tary School.


Crews in Fayetteville are in­stalling air con­di­tion­ing in the gyms at Ra­may and Wood­land ju­nior high schools.

“It’s go­ing to have a big im­pact in mak­ing sure all the stu­dents will be able to prac­tice in a gym that is air-con­di­tioned,” said John L Col­bert, as­so­ciate su­per­in­ten­dent for sup­port ser­vices.

Other projects in the Fayetteville School Dis­trict this sum­mer in­clude re­mod­el­ing the for­mer Happy Hollow Ele­men­tary for Fayetteville Vir­tual Academy, the dis­trict’s on­line char­ter school, to pro­vide in­struc­tion for high school stu­dents. The road that car­ries traf­fic from Town­ship to Van­der­griff Ele­men­tary also is be­ing resur­faced, spokesman Alan Wil­bourn said.

Projects in Spring­dale in­clude ad­di­tions at Tyson and Walker ele­men­tary schools and con­struc­tion of sports fa­cil­i­ties at Spring­dale High School. Those projects will con­tinue through early 2018, Spring­dale Deputy Su­per­in­ten­dent Jared Cleve­land said.

The New School in Fayetteville also looks for­ward to the com­ple­tion of three new build­ings that will pro­vide ad­di­tional space for its ex­pan­sion into a high school. The old­est class will be sopho­mores this school year

Bas­ket­ball goals were hung Wed­nes­day, and floors are be­ing in­stalled in the new ath­letic cen­ter, one of three projects wrap­ping up at The New School, Head of School Den­nis Chap­man said. Work on glass and dry­wall con­tinue in the new 9,000-square­foot in­no­va­tion cen­ter.

The in­no­va­tion cen­ter will act as a cen­ter­piece for the cam­pus with spa­ces for stu­dents to work with their hands, in­clud­ing in a ro­bot­ics class­room, two com­puter sci­ence labs, a wood shop and a “maker space.”

White boards are up in class­rooms in the aca­demic cen­ter, Chap­man said. Tours are planned Tues­day night dur­ing a school block party.

“It’s a lot of ac­tiv­ity now,” he said. “It’ll be fast and fu­ri­ous the next few weeks lead­ing up to the first day of school.”


The Rogers School Dis­trict is work­ing to fin­ish three ma­jor projects for the 201718 school year. Ren­o­va­tions are on­go­ing in­side what has been known as The An­nex, said Charles Lee, as­sis­tant su­per­in­ten­dent for gen­eral ad­min­is­tra­tion for Rogers School Dis­trict. Rogers New Tech­nol­ogy High School will oc­cupy the en­tire build­ing for the 2017-18 school year, Lee said. Work in­cludes ren­o­va­tions of the com­mons area and ad­min­is­tra­tion area for Rogers New Tech­nol­ogy.

The dis­trict’s char­ter high school had shared space with the Cross­roads al­ter­na­tive ed­u­ca­tion pro­gram. The Cross­roads pro­gram is mov­ing to a new space on North Sec­ond Street.

Sheetrock is up at Cross­roads, Lee said.

Equip­ment has been re­moved and floors are be­ing re­done dur­ing a re­mod­el­ing project of the ca­reer cen­ter at Rogers Her­itage High School, he said.

Build­ings in Rogers and Spring­dale are be­ing pre­pared for two new Haas Hall Academy sites. Haas Hall Academy will open in the for­mer Lane Ho­tel in Rogers and in The Jones Cen­ter in Spring­dale. Haas Hall also has cam­puses in Fayetteville and Ben­tonville.

KLS Leas­ing is fund­ing the ren­o­va­tions, said Luis Gon­za­lez, a spokesman for Wal­ton Fam­ily Foun­da­tion. The ren­o­va­tion process at the Lane Ho­tel is 90 per­cent com­plete, and the build­ing has passed fi­nal in­spec­tions.

In The Jones Cen­ter site, Haas Hall will oc­cupy the same space that held the Spring­dale School Dis­trict’s School of In­no­va­tion, said Martin Schopp­meyer, founder and su­per­in­ten­dent of Haas Hall Academy. Haas Hall needed more of a tra­di­tional class­room set­ting, so ren­o­va­tions there pro­vide for more bath­rooms, 13 in­struc­tional spa­ces, six of­fices, a teacher prepa­ra­tion area and two com­mons ar­eas for stu­dents.

Schopp­meyer’s goal is to pre­pare stu­dents for col­lege, he said.

“I’m just thrilled that some peo­ple want to come to Haas Hall and that we’re able to ex­pand,” he said. “It’s been a lot of work to get here.”

Arkansas Arts Academy in Rogers on Mon­day will de­mol­ish a cin­der block build­ing that once housed Sun­day school classes at the for­mer home of Im­manuel Bap­tist Church, said Mary Ley, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the char­ter school. The high school has oc­cu­pied the for­mer church. The build­ing re­moval comes ahead of the con­struc­tion of two new build­ings with a glass atrium that will con­nect them.

The academy’s 600 ninththrough 12th-graders will meet for class in por­ta­ble build­ings, in the per­form­ing arts cen­ter and of­fice ar­eas, Ley said.

“It’s a big project,” she said.


Jon Pu­ri­foy, prin­ci­pal at Farm­ing­ton High School, walks Fri­day past the school em­blem on the floor in the new Farm­ing­ton High School. Classes will be be­gin at the school this Au­gust.

NWA Demo­crat-Gazette/BEN GOFF • @NWABEN­GOFF

A view of Osage Creek Ele­men­tary School un­der con­struc­tion Fri­day in Ben­tonville.

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