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Many hours of study, many miles of travel and many discussions for design have laid the groundwork for the new Pea Ridge High School soon to be constructed.

"This is going to be an unusual high school ... a very unique high school," Steve Elliott, architect, said. "It's something you'll be having people coming to see for a while. Your staff has been heavily involved."

"When Rick (Neal) and I first talked about this five years ago ... we looked at property, toured schools," Elliot said, presenting a concept drawing of the new building. "This is what's priced. This is the building y'all've been looking at."

School Board members approved the guaranteed maximum price of $23, 675,000 Monday night.

"C.R. Crawford's done a really good job of going to the bidders," Neal, school superintendent, said, thanking Cody Crawford and explaining that initial bids were high and everyone worked together to get the most in the building for the least cost. "I think we're close to where you want to be."

Neal said he had worked diligently with Elliot to meet every need for the district including planning for future growth.

"There were so many things the community was asking for," he said. "We also need to be able to plan for the future."

Neal said city officials told him of more growth "coming down the pike."

There are several new subdivisions planned in the city, according to city officials. At this time, there are more than 800 additional residences planned for the city.

"Pea Ridge is a really exciting place to live," Sandy Button, board member and city clerk, said.

Phil Jones, development officer with C.R. Crawford, explained how housing starts impact growth in the community and school district. He said that a concept called Yield predicts .8 students per new residence. Using about 12 years of data from Pea Ridge, he compared it to data from other cities in Arkansas including Bentonville, .8; Bryant, 1.1; Elkins, .4; Greenwood, .7; Rogers, 0.3; and Brooklyn, 1.4.

"I believe .8 is a reasonable number based on comparative districts," Jones said. "This model is airtight essentially."

Neal said school officials didn't want to "underbuild" and said the data was refreshing and reinforced the plans. He said Dan Lovelady is working on partial refunding on bonds for additional financing and a second lien bond will be considered.

School Board member Ryan Heckman asked at what point school officials would look at a loan and was told it would be sometime after the first of next year.

General News on 03/13/2019

Print Headline: New PRHS designed for future

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