West Memphis School District to consolidate Wonder, LR Jackson with brand new building
Elementary schools will combine in near-$ 10- million facility
WM School District As one brand new building is being finished in the West Memphis School District, another one is at the dawn of being constructed.
State funding for a new elementary school in West Memphis was approved last week. Although there are still some major decisions left to be made, another new school building will be constructed, according to superintendent Jon Collins, in the southeast area of the city.
The new school building will consolidate students in L.R. Jackson and Wonder elementaries.
Funds from the state will total $9,817,050.83.
'This is really good news,' said Collins. 'We're lucky to have gotten it with the way the formula for these type things have started to shift. There have been changes in rules and regulations with priority being given to growth and increasing (enrollment) districts.'
A new Bragg Elementary is set to open in August. Its square footage is 72,350.
The new elementary for the Wonder-Jackson consolidation will be over 10,000 more square feet, according to Collins, making it the largest elementary school building in the district.
Collins said selecting a new site in the southeast area of West Memphis is still being discussed and it could take a few months for that to happen before the construction begins.
It's all part of the WMSD's 10-year master plan of facility upgrades. There are several schools in the district currently undergoing major renovations and upgrades. Most will be completed for the upcoming fall semester.
'We've been very intentional and very deliberate carrying out our 10-year master facilities plan,' Collins added. 'Ultimately, these projects help our community. Under (WMSD director of facilities) Clint Byard we've been able to do some amazing things with our facilities moving forward. That was one of the key points of interest with our school board four years ago…we wanted to advance the learning environment with facility upgrades.'
Wonder and Jackson have had declining enrollment in recent years, thus the deci- sion to combine the two schools. ‘I think the state recognizes
that (West Memphis’)
proximity to Memphis helps us hold a decent size student enrollment,' said Collins. 'We're still the largest school district in the Delta region. I think the state wants to support West Memphis and I think the state needs West Memphis to do well as much as we need West Memphis to do well.'
By Billy Woods