Editors Note: This is the first in a six-part commentary series offered to Hot Springs Village Voice regarding the upcoming voting for schools. Personal opinions reflect their own and not necessarily the views of Hot Springs Village Voice. The series is intended to provide information to voters.
The mission of the Fountain Lake School District of “Supporting Every Student Every Day to Succeed” is encompassed in the district’s goal of providing a learning environment that will create and maintain safety and security for all and ensure growth and development. future expansion.
Under the leadership of Superintendent Michael Murphy and the Fountain Lake School Board, careful budgeting and management of resources has enabled the district to purchase two adjacent plots of land. Expanding the district’s footprint to the south and west by over twenty-five acres, clearing and developing these sites for future use has been done from the district’s income fund balances.
As the Arkansas Department of Transportation continues to improve accessibility in the neighborhood, and in particular, near campus, the addition of a south entrance supports the goal of improving safety for all by transferring a large amount of traffic to the outer edge of the campus, as opposed to the old walkways that run through the center of school buildings.
Now is the time to address current constraints and concerns and consider curriculum improvements to prepare students for the future.
The Fountain Lake School District is proposing a $ 5 million increase to fund the construction of a new elementary school, community workforce center, sports complex, performance arena and expansion of the road network on campus.
After completing a facilities audit during the 2017-2018 school year, the need for adequate elementary classrooms has become of greatest concern. The current classrooms in Building 2-4 no longer meet state minimum standards for square footage. Two 30-year-old portable buildings are not conducive to learning. A kitchen from which to serve all students requires lunch for some students to start at 10:00 a.m., while last students finish lunch at 1:00 p.m.
The construction of an autonomous primary school on the site of the current tennis courts will separate these students from middle and high school students. Classrooms, a cafetorium / multi-purpose facility, and a secure play area will allow young learners in the district to stay on their own campus throughout the day. Shared staff members will go to students, as opposed to students traveling outside of these classes.
In consultation with various stakeholders, the need to expand on-campus workforce development programs and courses leads the district to provide a flexible set of classrooms / workspaces to accommodate adapt to this expansion. Relocation of the current Home Consumption Science curriculum to a space with culinary arts capabilities, relocation of the high school’s integrated production technologies out of the college classroom that it was forced to occupy due to space constraints and reorganization of the agriculture program to leave more space for the current welding certification program are among the immediate moves that this new space would allow. Additional programs to meet local labor demands would also be hosted within the Community Workforce Center.
By moving Family Consumer Science to the center of the workforce, this classroom space will be dedicated to the community education program of the special education department. Move these students from a portable building to a classroom already equipped for the development of life skills.
With the proposed construction of the new primary school, the existing tennis courts would be moved to the area behind the football press box. Building baseball and softball fields on campus would allow the district to have real home fields rather than the current travel required to local youth league fields for practice and home games. Additional parking and a reconfiguration of the entrance to the football field would also be completed.
In a further concern of improving the capacity of the campus, a performance arena, a small indoor training ground and a community fitness center would be housed under the same roof as the workforce facility. All of the district’s instrumental music programs could perform at the same time in the expanded performance arena; basketball and volleyball teams would also use this space. After-school community health programs would be organized at this facility.
In order to further improve traffic and safety on campus, a road along the southern and western borders of the campus will move the drop-off and pick-up of students away from the center of the campus. The new road would connect Park Avenue to Cobra Drive and up to Fox Pass Cut-off.
Each element of this proposal addresses needs that will allow the Fountain Lake School District to continue to support every student every day to succeed.
For more information: www.millage.flcobras.com