The district is looking to make significant changes to the facilities at the CHSWest campus. This would include the erection of new classroom, library, cafeteria, and office space. There would be two major phases of construction: Phase 1: the construction of classroom space between the current facility and Prince Street. Phase 2: the construction of a new cafeteria, the razing of the current "Pod" buildings, and the connection of all buildings on campus. Phase 2 will not be completed until the fall of 2013.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do the current buildings contain asbestos? If so, will the demolition of the pods be during the summer?
The building does not contain asbestos. Any demolition of the pods will occur during the summer.
Will there be several elevators for the handicapped students?
The building will meet all ADA requirements including appropriate location and number of elevators.
What is the cost breakdown for the various parts of the project?
The cost to build the three-story classroom space is estimated to be $31,489,670. This amount includes the demolition of the current pods, architectural fees, and equipment.
- The cost to build the cafeteria is estimated to be $7,480,420. This amount includes architectural fees and equipment.
- The cost to changes in traffic flow on the campus is estimated to be $831,017.
- The cost to build the new elementary school is estimated to be $15,000,000.
- There will be additional costs for the construction of some additional facilities at Simon and Ruth Doyle as we transition them to middle schools. However, the cost will not cause the millage rate to change.
Are the Science Labs a combination lab/classroom?
Separate classrooms will be available for science class lectures on the same floor as the labs.
Will there be loud construction noise while our current 10th & 11th grade students will be trying to learn over the next two years?
There will inevitably be some amount of construction noise. However, we will do all we can to make sure that a quality learning environment is in place for our students on campus.
Is the district pursuing LEED (or "green") certification for the building?
The district is in favor of building a LEED certified building and a preliminary review indicates that we have already met the requirements to be LEED certified. However, the actual process for certification costs well over $100,000 and would not present a perceivable cost savings. Therefore, the district is not planning to pursue the actual LEED certification at this time.
Does the architectural firm have experience with LEED?
How does this district remain accredited with one science lab?
Teachers have had to be creative about how to provide adequate lab experience for all of our students.
Is this millage increase permanent?
The millage voters will be asked to approve will be in effect for 30 years.
How much additional staffing is required with new building?
We do not anticipate a significant amount of staffing increase. Staff will be shifted from the East campus to make sure that there is adequate teaching and support staff to serve the needs of our students at the high school.
Have you gotten student input on the design/plans? (sometimes they have the best ideas)
We will solicit input from students as we look toward finalizing the plans.
Have you considered consulting with HP/Acxiom about how they envision a school of the future?
Preliminary plans are in place to have conversations with both companies to seek input on the technology future of our new school.
What security measures are being taken?
With a decreased number of entry doors in the new building in comparison to the number of entries in the Pods, security will be enhanced. The district will also install a complete set of security video cameras and a keyless electronic entry system for doors so that all entries can be quickly secured if necessary.
Is grant money being aggressively sought? (technology, green, etc.)
We will pursue any available grant money that might assist us in the equipping of the building. We are unaware of any grants associated with "green" initiatives.
Why should a second high school be built? Conway doesn't want two high schools because it will split up the best athletes. Do they realize it would cost $80m instead of $40m?
A second high school should be considered at some point. However, it does not appear that a second high school should be built for many years. It should only be considered when it is clear that the new facility can no longer handle the number of students that are assigned to that building.
What is the size comparison (sq. ft.) of the pods and the proposed new space?
The current Pod building has 70,740 square feet. The new classroom building (not including the cafeteria) has a planned square footage of 165,000. The current cafeteria has 11,150 square feet. The new cafeteria has a planned square footage of 27,000.
Why not build a second high school?
If we build a new high school under the current grade configuration, we would have two high schools of @650 - not nearly enough students to have the full spectrum of academic classes that are currently offered. If and when the need for a second high school becomes a reality, the current high school should not be looked upon as the "old" high school.
Will a bigger high school further congest traffic problems on Prince, Farris, Salem, etc?
With more students comes more traffic. Plans are included in the campus master plan to improve traffic on campus by improving the internal flow of traffic as well as increase the number of exits from the campus.
If the high school is not overcrowded now...why does this have to be done now?
We are very quickly approaching the capacity of the CHSW building. Most if not all of the staff members there today would tell you that the building is at capacity. Should we wait until we exceed capacity to begin construction? That doesn't seem like good planning.
Why combine funding request for 2 schools (the reconstruction AND the future elementary school) in this millage? The date of the construction of the elementary school is unknown. You are asking people to pay NOW for something in the future. Fees and taxes on just about everything will be going up here in Conway, Faulkner Co, AR and highly likely on the federal level. People are feeling pinched and tapped out.
You will note that we are tentatively saying that we want to build an elementary school and open it in 2012 but as has also been said we are not making final plans until we know how many additional students we will have in September. The request for 1.9 mills is an extremely "tight" request and is dependent upon our assessed value growing over the next several years. Instead of having a flat debt payment, our debt payment grows over the next several years so that the payment grows with our assessed value. If we need the next elementary school, it will be because more families (and more homes) are here in Conway which of course means more taxes collected (which will assist in paying the debt for the elementary school). If we do not need the elementary school in 2012 then there will not be as many new houses and businesses in Conway and the entire 1.9 mills will initially be used to service the debt on the high school project.
Can you cut the cost of the reconstruction? For example, can a mix of materials be used in wrapping the exterior rather than all brick ? How about brick and stucco ? Can hallways be made more narrow than the ones in the present plan?
Yes, but would it bring the proposed tax down significantly? No. According to our architect, the finishes that are required by the City of Conway will be roughly in the same neighborhood of costs, whether the finish is stucco or brick or some other required finish. The size of hallways, in my opinion, should not be significantly reduced even if there is an additional cost for the larger size.
Would you be willing to sunset the millage increase when the full amount of the loan is collected? If Conway's grows as it has every year it is probable the loan money can be repaid in 12-15 years.
The tax will be in place for 30 years. In effect, it does sunset after this debt is paid off.
Why have a separate school election when there will already be a November election?
Elections for school boards are by law on the third Tuesday of September. Millage elections are traditionally conducted at the same time to save on expenses and confusion of having two elections. An exception is sometimes made by a district who asks for a special millage election during the spring. However, a district may only request a millage change once in a calendar year.