El Dorado School district hopes to build new school buildings in the next few years

Arkansas News

EL DORADO, Ark. (01/14/20) — The El Dorado School District has presented a plan to hopefully provide some upgrades to some of its schools.

The El Dorado School Board had its monthly meeting on Monday. Superintendent Jim Ticker addressed staff and the public on a plan for school facilities.

“Every two years we have to present to the public a six year facilities plan and it has some of our major projects,” Tucker said.

Some projects are already in progress, including the maintenance, bus shop and food services building that is currently under construction.

The district has already completed a list of maintenance projects district-wide which included upgrades at Memorial Stadium, interior alterations and exterior repairs to its schools and other facilities.

Mr. Tucker would like to continue improvements by replacing portable buildings at Hugh Goodwin and Northwest Elementary schools.

“They have been there for awhile and we want to do away with those,” he said. “So, we’re going to build new classrooms in the place of those.”

The district is looking to partner with the state to help fund the project.

“Even if we don’t get the partnership money this is something that we’re still going to do,” Tucker said.

The goal is to have larger classrooms with restrooms included in each room. These classrooms will also be attached to the main school building.

The district has submitted a request to the Arkansas Department of Education for a roof replacement at Barton Junior High School’s cafeteria. Though, he has his eyes set on something larger for that school as well as for Yocum Elementary School.

“We need a junior high school. Barton Junior High is aging. The classrooms are smaller than they need to be,” Tucker said. “On top of that we need a new elementary school. Our students deserve a new school at Yocum Elementary.

Yocum was built in the 1920s. Tucker said the schools are in good shape but the classrooms are also smaller and a new building would allow them to better serve its students.

There are two possible locations that could be the new campus for Barton and Yocum students.

The district is planning to utilize the old El Dorado High School. The old school will be demolished soon and level off to potentially house one of the two schools. The gym will be kept.

“Right now, a new elementary school is looking better for that location because we purchased land north of the new high school where putting a new junior high school on Bob Watson Drive would be a pretty good location.”

Tucker isn’t sure how much it would cost. The district has been in communication with architects to be able to present the numbers and ideas to the community.

“Definitely a new junior high and elementary school is needed. It’s needed for our students, our families, our communities but it all depends on the price,” he said. “So that’s what we’re looking at now.”

Tucker wants to reiterate that this is something the district is looking into for the future. They would to receive funding from the ADE, gather the necessary materials to present to the community and further discuss with the public on the best decision for all.

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