Please click on image to ENLARGE view of Mayor Lioneld Jordan at the Fayetteville High School cafeteria on May 11, 2009.
The Morning News
Local News for Northwest Arkansas
Questions Still Arise About High School Project
By Rose Ann Pearce
THE MORNING NEWS
FAYETTEVILLE — A timeline for the construction of a new Fayetteville High School hasn't been developed but planners hope to keep interruption at a minimum, residents were told Monday.
About 50 parents, parents and some school employees attended a community meeting to discuss a campus master plan, developed by a New Orleans planning firm, and two variations put together by central office administrators.
After a brief review of the plan's development and contents, questions arose from the audience about construction, closing Stone Street, parking and the renovation of one portion of the existing high school, built in 1991, to be incorporated in the new construction.
James McGinty, a former school board candidate, said local residents still want more information about the new high school project.
"Parents are concerned about the facilities for their children. We need more discussion," McGinty said. "It's ridiculous to have such a small turnout. We need more information."
When pressed by Jeff Hebert, the Concordia LLC project manager, McGinty noted he wanted to see what student, teachers and district administrators have said they want to see in the new school.
"Sharing the information so everyone can see," McGinty suggested. Hebert said Concordia would consider that suggestion for its Web site.
Fayetteville School Board member Jim Halsell said he doesn't have sufficient information yet to make a decision on the high school project.
Several school board members attended the meeting as did Vicki Thomas, the district's new superintendent who takes over July 1 when Superintendent Bobby New retires.
Halsell predicted more information may be forthcoming on Wednesday when the board holds a workshop to talk about the money side of the project. The meeting is from 5 to 7 p.m.
He also suggested patrons will have "opportunity for input all summer."
One patron suggested the planning firm assemble a three-dimensional model of the campus master plan to help patrons better understand the new high school project. Concordia representatives said the planning process hasn't progressed far enough to build such a model now but consideration would be given down the road.
He agreed attendance was low Monday.
Halsell said attendance may have been impacted by the weather and concerts and other year-end activities going on at the schools.
Bobbie Hill, also an associate of Concordia LLC, said a construction timeline is also too early to develop but noted that the school will be built in phases with "minimal interruptions."
Students will move into new facilities as they are completed, she said.
Still, Hebert noted, "It won't be a bed of roses," adding that this type of phased construction goes on across the country when building new schools.
BY THE NUMBERS
Cost Of New High School
• The master plan recommended by Concordia LLC is projected to cost $124 million.
• Variation 2 is projected to cost $110.6 million.
• Variation 3 is projected to cost $101.8 million.
Source: Staff Report