By Lisa Kopochinski
HOT SPRINGS, Ark.—Construction continues on the more than $40 million in school projects underway in the Lakeside School District in Hot Springs, Ark. in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In an article by the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, District Superintendent Shawn Cook said the district is aware the pandemic could have an impact on getting supplies in a timely manner, but it is unsure what that impact might be at this point. The district is making use of this time to take care of maintenance needs.
With a completion date slated for the 2021-22 school year, Lakeside School District voters approved a $4 million increase in 2018 to fund the construction, which was also eligible for state partnership funds. The district is receiving about $2.6 million under Arkansas’ Academic Facilities Partnership Program.
“The interest we receive on the bond money will go for items such as furniture, furnishings, equipment and things of that nature,” said Cook. “Construction is going great so far, and all of our projects will be ready to occupy for the 2021-2022 school year.”
He also said, in a statement, that he is excited that the district is going to be able to provide the campus with some necessary updates. The district has grown by more than 1,000 students since 2004.
The construction projects consist of a new junior high building housing 7th and 8th graders; a performing arts center; a new primary cafeteria; a new intermediate cafeteria; remodeling old cafeteria spaces; safety entrances and new office areas at the primary and intermediate schools; a turf field; playground turf areas at the primary, intermediate and middle schools; and new parking areas.
Cook said he believes the community will love the Lakeside Performing Arts Center, specifically the auditorium. Currently, the auditorium seats under 500. The new auditorium will have the capacity to house 1,200.