Little Rock Central High School to undergo a $60 million refurbishment


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Little Rock, Arkansas – Significant refurbishments, estimated at $60 million, are set to be implemented at Little Rock Central High School.

Key highlights of these improvements include a new science center and a fieldhouse, with the architectural project being spearheaded by Polk Stanley Wilcox, a Little Rock-based firm.

Sarah Bennings, an alumnus of Little Rock Central and a participant in this project, shares a unique bond with the school. “As an alumni of the school,” Bennings expressed, “This is really special for me.” Having graduated from the school in 1999, Bennings was well aware of the need for the school’s historic facilities to be upgraded.

“The school is still using their original laboratory spaces that were built in 1927,” said Bennings. The science center, replacing portable buildings that have served for over 20 years, is set to be a focal point of the redesign, extending along 16th Street between South Park and Jones Street.

“We have a new three-story science building here,” Bennings explained. “The two-story fieldhouse is located in the south endzone by Quigley stadium.” The fieldhouse will feature an indoor practice field, rooms for cheer and wrestling, and a new weight room.

Funds for this project were approved by voters through a millage increase in the 2021 ballot. Bennings believes this development “is going to give them a lot more flexibility and an opportunity to grow as a team.”

According to Bennings, the complex history of Little Rock Central is the most challenging aspect of the project, but efforts are being made to incorporate that history into the renovations. The newly constructed buildings will resemble the school’s original structure, utilizing matching brick for continuity. However, it will not simply “mimic the architecture,” but will offer “a modern interpretation of that,” Bennings clarified.

The project is expected to reach completion in 2025. Bennings expressed her sentiment, stating, “In my opinion, Little Rock Central High School is one of the best high schools in the state, one of the most historic high schools. Tremendous academic and athletic accomplishments… they need and deserve facilities that represent and support that.”

Other educational institutions slated for refurbishment include the McClellan replacement campus, the Dr. Marian G. Lacey K8 Academy, with an estimated cost of $87 million, and the new Little Rock West High School, though the budget for the latter has not been disclosed. Rockefeller is also set to receive funding, with an allocation of $11.9 million in the pipeline.


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