CENTERTON, Ark. (KFSM) -- To keep up with growth in Northwest Arkansas the Bentonville School District had a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday (May 15) on its fourth junior high school.
This new junior high school will be built in Centerton and will be 140,000 square feet. Around 800 seventh and eighth graders will walk the halls.
“You know what’s exciting about growth, is more opportunity," said Bentonville School Board President Eric White. "If we can continue to provide a great education for kids, now we have more kids we can provide a great education for. The more that move in, the happier we are. We end up with a very diverse, thriving community and population of kids."
The 80 acres were once a cattle farm so the design of the school will fit its history. White said with so much growth, their challenge is to have programs and activities that meet the diverse culture.
“To continue to grow there are demands, there are financial demands, there are hiring demands but so far we are meeting those with excellence, and we wouldn’t be able to do that without the support of the community and particularly without the support of the community leaders,” White said.
One of those community leaders is Centerton Mayor Bill Edwards, who said they are excited the Bentonville School District decided to build another school in their city.
Edwards said they estimate the city is adding 1,000 residents a year and building between 400 and 500 homes each year. He credit’s the city’s housing market taking off due to Bentonville West High School being built there.
“When that school came there was a lot of housing built around there," Edwards said. "A lot of nice affordable housing around there and we anticipate the same happening right here. You know we are surrounded by Centerton and Bentonville, so we believe both cities will gain more subdivisions down in this area."
The budget to build the new school is $32 million, and it will be open in the fall of 2020.
There will also be a lot of unused lands the district can use for future growth. The junior high school hasn’t been named yet or given a mascot. The district says they provide a lot of thought before making those decisions.