LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - The Little Rock School District celebrated the groundbreaking of a highly anticipated new high school today. Southwest High School will convert two of the districts high schools into one.
But, everyone isn't excited about this new facility. Some in the community think the LRSD is diverting attention away from other priorities. Dr. Anika T. Whitfield with Save Our Schools thinks the district should focus on schools that are already struggling, not spend money on a new one.
"The academic building alone will be a modern, state of the art, three story building standing at about 310,000 square feet," said Sarah Bennings with Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects.
Southwest High School will be LRSD's first new high school in more than 50 years.
"The design process involves various Little Rock School District department representatives to help stricter what we needed in this school, " said Marvin Burton, Deputy Superintendent.
The district hopes the new facility will not benefit students, but the entire city. Specifically, the Southwest community.
"To the parents, teachers, and especially the students at J.A Fair and McClellan, you all are going to be some lucky folks to be in a state of the art facility like this," Mayor Mark Stodola said.
It's touted as an academic village with a global concept. Students from Fair and McClellan will both attend the new high school.
"Two schools that are constantly being put down everyday will change for the better. We will have new students, faculty, and a chance to start over," one student said.
The new high school will sit on 60 acres of land and will be over 400,000 square feet. The district involved students at various schools in the planning process. The number one request was more windows.
"Southwest High School is going to help prepare us to contribute and succeed in an ever changing society," another student added.
The district plans to do a major overhaul on McClellan, while plans for Fair are uncertain.
"We know we've got to something with both of those buildings and do something that benefits the overall community," said Superintendent Mike Poore.
Poore said there's another $40 million that will be provided to repair basic need at other schools in the district.