UALR Seeks to Include Neighborhoods in Its Success

by Jamie Walden  on Monday, Nov. 30, 2009 12:00 am  

Anderson speculated that, to offer a four-year university, the administration at the time figured it would be easier to go private than to try to sort things out with the board of education. After all, LRJC already survived mostly on tuition, so transitioning to a private school wasn't much of a leap. In this way, LRJC became Little Rock University.

But as the trend of public universities began to trickle into the South and as the school began to realize that a private university didn't fully serve the needs of the community, Anderson said, LRU decided to merge with the University of Arkansas to become the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in 1969.

Though UALR has retained its name and location for more than 40 years now, the school has continued to adapt and grow.

In 1975, the UA law program in Little Rock transferred to UALR. A couple of years later, UALR also added a graduate school. Over the years, UALR absorbed several other UA programs that had branches in Little Rock.

In 2005, the school built a new gym with a donation in the name of the late Jack Stephens, the Little Rock financier.

UALR also is about to complete its Donaghey College of Engineering & Information Technology.

A Good Neighbor

As part of its mission, UALR aims to revitalize the community - a lofty goal likely held by many organizations for public relations purposes, but pursued by few.

However, UALR incorporated some specific tactics into its strategic plan to accomplish that goal.

For some time, UALR has purchased residential properties with the intent to remodel and then rent those houses to graduate students or faculty. The area the school has targeted sits between Fair Park Boulevard and Filmore Street and 24th and 30th streets.

"We do purchase homes that come available there in that area, and if they're in good condition, we will do a minor renovation and then rent them," said David Millay, associate vice chancellor for facilities management at UALR. "And if they're not in good condition, we generally just demolish them and just leave the land unoccupied for some future use."

However, UALR has a much bigger plan in the works for the Fair Park and Broadmoor neighborhoods.



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