LRSD to build a Middle School and High School - KATV - Breaking News, Weather and Razorback Sports

LRSD to build a Middle School and High School

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(KATV) Two new schools are approved for the Little Rock School District (LRSD). But even before brick and mortar go up, the land will cost the district millions.

In a vote of six to zero and one abstention, board members agreed to build a school in West Little Rock and one in Southwest Little Rock.

First, a feasibility study has to be done. If you build it, they will come… or will they? That's what a feasibility study is for. The data gathered on the area, demographics and focus groups helps determine the risk and whether to proceed.

Brenda Townsend moved to the Orchards at Mabelvale off I-30 this month. She says, "I really enjoy it, it is nice and quiet, the environment, the people." She is worried about the traffic and noise a high school will bring to the 56 acres across from her apartment, plus Richsmith Lane is a dead end street. "I'm for schools, new schools but not for this community."

Kelsey Bailey says, "We have a lot of work still to be done. This is just the early stages now."

Bailey is the Chief Financial Officer for LRSD. He says they chose Mabelvale near the Home Depot for a high school and Cantrell, near the ranch for a middle school because of need. "Of course we don't have a middle school in West Little Rock so that whole area will have to be rezoned for 8 middle schools now. That will make 8 schools in the Little Rock School District, we currently have 7."

Bailey says the district has not decided to close schools and consolidate. Right now they're focused on building and doing renovations to existing facilities.

He explains, "Purchasing the land we are going to do it out of our regular budget we have now. Construction of the school we're going to have to look at additional finances, whether that's restructuring our current debt doing some savings in house along with possibly doing some mileage as well."

The last school LRSD built was Roberts Elementary two years ago. It is at capacity with 900 students and down the street from the land the district wants to build the middle school on.

The high school the district wants to build in Southwest will be in the McClellan attendance zone.

The district hasn't set a timeline yet. It comes down to money. That will tie into how big to make the schools and when they are built. West Little Rock is 43.5 acres and is situated on the north end of Kattilus Road near the Ranch on Cantrell. It will cost $4,200,000. The second location is at the intersection of Richsmith Lane and Mabelvale Pike. It will cost $1,372,000 and spans 56 acres.

LRSD will host public meeting for people to voice concerns, support and get questions answered. Channel Seven will post those meeting dates when they become available.