Pea Ridge school traf­fic to di­vert to Hazel­ton

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - RECORDS - AN­NETTE BEARD

PEA RIDGE — School of­fi­cials are mov­ing for­ward pre­par­ing for this school year which be­gins for stu­dents on Aug. 14, but also in pre­par­ing for the stu­dents in years to come.

The board re­cently pre­sented a re­quest for a mill­age in­crease to build a new high school and au­di­to­rium on 77 acres on Hay­den Road. Vot­ers de­feated the re­quest, leav­ing school of­fi­cials ques­tion­ing what to do to meet stu­dents’ needs. At the reg­u­lar School Board meet­ing July 17 the board ap­proved the pur­chase of 15 acres of land ad­ja­cent to the cam­puses on the south­west cor­ner of We­ston Street and West Pick­ens Road be­hind Stand­ing Oaks sub­di­vi­sion. The base­ball and soft­ball fields are to be built on that prop­erty which will also pro­vide ac­cess for a drive­way out of the Pri­mary School prop­erty onto Hazel­ton Road al­le­vi­at­ing some of the traf­fic con­ges­tion on We­ston Street.

“It’s not about foot­ball, base­ball and bas­ket­ball, it’s about ed­u­cat­ing the stu­dents,” Jeff Neil, board mem­ber, said, af­ter mak­ing the mo­tion to pur­chase the two pieces of prop­erty to build new ball fields and reroute traf­fic from the Pri­mary School to Hazel­ton Road.

“You eat an ele­phant one bite at a time,” Ryan Heck­man, board mem­ber, said re­fer­ring to the huge ques­tions the board is fac­ing con­cern­ing stu­dent growth and crowded fa­cil­i­ties. “It makes a lot of sense that we’re pur­chas­ing that land… it seems like a no brainer for the first step.”

Board mem­bers au­tho­rized school su­per­in­ten­dent Rick Neal to con­tinue ne­go­ti­a­tions with RLP De­vel­op­ers to trade ball field land for la­bor on the new ball com­plex and 20 acres off Hazel­ton Road.

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