North Little Rock Schools in the Middle Of a $223 Million Makeover

by Luke Jones  on Monday, Dec. 2, 2013 12:00 am  

Phase I

Now that the money is in the right place, work has begun on all of the district’s first-phase projects. They include new school buildings for four aging elementary schools — Amboy, Boone Park, Lakewood and Meadow Park — and an expansion of the historic high school at the corner of Main and 22nd streets.

The DLR Group, a large architecture firm with multiple U.S. locations, was chosen as the master architects for the project, and Little Rock’s Baldwin & Shell Construction Co. was brought in as the general contractor.

Each of the new elementary schools will be about twice the size of the existing ones, Cound said. Classrooms will be larger, more flexible spaces will be built, and recreation areas will be improved. Computer labs, music rooms and art rooms will be added.

“We’ll have after-hours access points so the community can have more access,” Cound said. “We’ll have a parent center with technology and meeting areas and separate bus and car routes. For example, the media centers in the past have been in the neighborhood of 800 to 900 square feet, and with the new construction they’ll be 1,600 to 1,800 square feet.”

The new buildings are prototypes and will all have similar characteristics to each other. Sizes will be slightly different, Cound said, but for the most part the buildings will have the same basic arrangements and will range from 60,000 to 70,000 SF.

Three of the four sites will completely replace the original buildings, Cound said.

“We will have to tear down or demolish the old ones, then rebuild playgrounds, traffic areas into the school, landscape and parking areas,” Cound said. “All of those things will have to be built after we complete the new building and demolish the old building.”

Only Amboy Elementary will remain standing after construction is finished.

“We have complete separation between the new property and the old property,” Cound said. “In this case, we’ll be able to build all of those things — a playground, parking area, all those things — without having to tear anything down.”

Because the high school is a historic building, construction there will be in addition to the original structure. Cound said the current 200,000-SF campus accommodates only 11th- and 12th-graders. When the new campus is done, it will comprise 480,000 SF — room for the ninth- and 10th-graders who currently attend the NLRHS East Campus near McCain and Highway 67/167.

Only 130,000 SF of that addition is part of the first phase of construction, Cound said, with the rest coming later.



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