August 2018 Update

District construction remains on schedule

BETH REED
The Sentinel-Record



The Sentinel-Record/Richard Rasmussen

UNDER CONSTRUCTION: Construction crews continue work on the new Langston Aerospace and Environmental Magnet School on Monday. According to Hot Springs School District Superintendent Stephanie Nehus, Langston is scheduled to open to students in August 2019.

The Hot Springs School District’s various building projects and improvements remain on schedule for completion in the next couple of years, according to Superintendent Stephanie Nehus.

The district broke ground Nov. 13, 2017, on the new Langston Aerospace and Environmental Magnet School, which is set to be open to students in August 2019.

“We are totally on target with that building,” Nehus said. “They are actually working on the second floor of the classroom wing. We are on target to get students in August.”

Nehus said once students finish school in May, the old building will be knocked down except for the current gymnasium making for a “very fast and furious process” in the summer of 2019.

Hot Springs Junior Academy, located adjacent to Hot Springs World Class High School on Emory Street, has been in progress since its groundbreaking ceremony in April. As of this week, Nehus said the foundation for the classroom wing has been laid with the pad for the 2,200-seat multipurpose arena soon to follow.

The Junior Academy will also include a 1,000-seat auditorium and will house seventh- through ninth-graders. It’s set to be complete by April 2020, she said.

Langston Magnet and the Junior Academy were the two major building projects of a millage increase that was approved by voters in September 2016.

In addition, the driveway of Oaklawn Visual and Performing Arts Magnet School was redesigned to extend the drop-off and pick up area as part of the millage improvements. Nehus said the finishing touches were completed Aug. 14 in time for students to return to school Aug. 15.

“We are still working on the traffic flow in front of Oaklawn (Magnet); it’s probably going to take another week to get that flow going quickly,” she said, adding that by 2:30 p.m. Friday, there were two lanes backed up to Seventh Street.

“We expect that to speed up,” she said.

Upon completion of the new Junior Academy, Nehus said there will be several transitional shifts which will include moving Oaklawn Magnet to the current Junior Academy and Gardner STEM Magnet School to the current Oaklawn Magnet.

Park Magnet Elementary and Oaklawn Magnet will then be on a “super campus,” Gardner will be on Oaklawn Street, and Langston will be on Silver Street. When the Junior Academy opens and all elementary schools have transitioned to their new locations, each will house Pre-K through sixthgrade students.

Nehus said Monday that the district is still planning to make the current Gardner school building into a countywide vocational education center.

Alongside millage improvements are several district-funded improvements Nehus said the community will see completed in the coming year.

“Currently we have a new track surface going down that will be gold,” she said. “It’s not a millage project, it’s a district project. We expect to have the track surface down by next Thursday and then shortly after that the gold coating will go on.”

Over the summer, the high school cafeteria was remodeled and finishing touches will be wrapped up after Labor Day on this project. Beginning sometime during the school year, work on the high school library will begin, as well.

Nehus said all projects have gone as planned with no modifications.
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