Bentonville students and parents got their first look at what the planned new high school may look like at an open house event held Monday night.
From curriculum to the design of the building, displays were set up at the Bentonville School District administration building to show the floor plans and academic goals of the new high school.
Local voters last year approved a millage increase to build a second high school to alleviate overcrowding issues at Bentonville High School, which holds more than 4,000 students but has an ideal capacity of 3,700, said Supt. Michael Poore.
The second high school is set to be built on Gamble Road in Centerton. Its capacity is estimated to be about 2,250 students, according to the Bentonville School District. School Board members last summer approved $74 million in bond money to be sought to pay for the new high school.
School district spokeswoman Mary Ley said the open house was meant to be an interactive opportunity for the public to offer feedback on the plans for the new high school.
“I think the floor plans look really outstanding,” said parent Jennifer Perkins.
“It’s really cool to see what is actually going to be there, instead of guessing,” said Meredith England, a student.
Poore said administrators wanted to get parents excited about the new school ahead of its planned opening for the 2016-17 school year.
“I am pumped right now because everyone seems to have a good feel about what they are seeing,” he said. “They like the design of the building. I think they are seeing that it’s efficient, yet very student-focused.”
The school’s design is meant to facilitate learning through space that encourages student-teacher interaction.
“Our idea is to create a lot of collaborative spaces. That’s one of our key targets,” Poore said. “We want collaborative spaces for students to interact with each other, students to interact with teachers and, of course, for teachers to interact with each other.”
Centerton Mayor Bill Edwards said he believes the school will bring pride to the communities of Centerton and Bentonville. Depending on the attendance zone lines, about one-third of the inaugural class at the new high school will likely be from Centerton, Ley said.
“I think it’s a beautiful building,” Edwards said. “And I think the district used the dollars wisely to build a comfortable school for 2,500 students. I think it’s going to be great.”