Arkansas District to Build New High School, Elementary School

JACKSONVILLE, Ark. — To make way for the new $65 million Jacksonville High School and a $15.6 million elementary school planned for the Jacksonville North Pulaski School District, the district’s old middle school buildings will be demolished some time this summer.

Tony Wood, superintendent of the school district, told Arkansas Business that construction on both projects is scheduled to begin in summer 2017, with plans for the elementary school to open in August 2018 and the high school to open in 2019 or 2020. The high school will be approximately 259,000 square feet in size (not including athletic facilities), and the elementary school span roughly 80,000 square feet.

WER Architects/Planners is serving as the architect on the project, while Baldwin & Shell Construction Company is serving as the construction manager. Both are located in Little Rock. Bids for subcontractors will likely be sought in June or July 2017.

Both schools were approved for state partnership funding, which is based on the district’s wealth index, but it won’t be announced until May 2017 whether or not that request will be filled, Wood told Arkansas Business. If the state wealth index stays the same, the state will pay approximately $21.9 million for the high school and $7.1 million for the elementary school.

Following the May 2017 funding announcement, the district also plans to fund the project by selling bonds, backed by a 7.6-mill property tax increase that voters approved in February. District funds from a desegregation settlement will also be used to pay for the new projects, according to Arkansas Business. Additionally, the Department of Defense will likely fund some of the project, as the elementary school will replace Arnold Drive and Tolleson elementary schools. Arnold Drive is located on Little Rock Air Force Base, and Tolleson is less than a mile away.