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School District in Springdale, Ark., Asking for $60M from State for Renovations

Thu January 13, 2022 - Southeast Edition
Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

The Springdale Public Schools Administration Offices located in the Historic Springdale High School.
The Springdale Public Schools Administration Offices located in the Historic Springdale High School.

The Springdale School District hopes to receive more than $60 million from the Arkansas Public Facilities Partnership to renovate nine of its older buildings.

The partnership has said it will pay 58.4 percent of the construction projects, with the school system to pay the rest, Charles Stein, a consultant working on the project for the district, told the Democrat-Gazette.

The maximum the state program would pay is $200 per square foot for construction, with the district paying the remainder. The regional news source reported, though, that the money will not go as far in northwest Arkansas due to elevated material and construction costs.

Jared Cleveland, the Springdale district superintendent, said the district must apply for the next round of grants in February, with tentative approval coming in May. He added that the school district will not make the upgrades without partnership funding.

Springdale in Need of Modern School Facilities

The city's school system is looking to overhaul many of its older buildings to accommodate growth, but also repair and replace the outdated buildings.

"Some of those buildings are reaching back into the 1950s," Stein said.

He shared four new projects for which the district is seeking funds. They include:

  • Jones Elementary needs to have its 63-year-old main building replaced with $5.9 million from the partnership.
  • Discussions about rebuilding the main structure at Westwood Elementary are ongoing with the partnership. That school, too, was constructed in 1959.
  • Elmdale Elementary needs its main building, almost 57 years old, to be replaced to the tune of $7.2 million.
  • A $1 million air conditioning and heat system upgrade is required at George Elementary.

Ongoing projects with the Springdale School District include:

  • New air conditioning and heating systems at Kelly and Tyson middle schools, with $2.1 million for each school provided by the Arkansas Public Facilities Partnership. These projects are slated to be complete this summer. In addition, a new media center at George Elementary will be unveiled in August 2023.
  • A replacement of the main building at Southwest Junior High, with additions in 2024 over three phases, is under way. The partnership is paying the $12 million in construction costs.
  • A major upgrade to Central Junior High's main building, with additions in 2024, costing $17 million in two phases, also is being built.
  • Springdale High School is getting replacement buildings that were first constructed over 70 years ago. They include a new gymnasium, and classroom buildings, with $8.6 million from the partnership.

That construction effort, to be completed in 2024, also would remove both the one-story classroom building sitting just south of the current football stadium that had served as the original Springdale Junior High facility, and the auxiliary gym on the northeast side of campus.

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