HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (KTHV) -- A high school for some of the brightest students in the state is about to expand its campus and student opportunities.
In its 24 years of existence the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts has never had a new building on campus for academics. That's about to change with a major facelift.
When Joshua Lay first enrolled, he wanted to focus on engineering but quickly found interest in the arts.
"I just discovered that I have a really big passion for creating and I'm now focusing in Arts and Music and plan to study architecture in college," he said.
Joshua is one of 236 students who attend the residential high school in Hot Springs. The campus is located in the old St. Joseph Hospital. The school's director Corey Alderdice said on Friday the school will break ground on the construction of a 20,000 square foot Creativity and Innovation Complex.
"With this new classroom facility we're thrilled to have new opportunities in computer science, in digital arts, in music. As well as a space where all 236 of our students can be under one roof together," Alderdice said.
Alderdice said this new building will match students with opportunities.
"Computer science, coding, cyber security, network infrastructure and a variety of other topics that aren't available at that kind of level anywhere else in Arkansas," he said.
“The newer technology would let them know that Arkansas is not a place that's always in distress, we're not behind on anything. We definitely have opportunities," said A'Yanah Jefferson, a senior at ASMSA.
In 2012, the school built new campus living quarters, but Alderdice said the school has never had a new building for academics.
"Whether it’s our science fair and research week, college fair, even traditional high school activities like prom we have always relied on other spaces throughout the community," Alderdice said.
Lay said, it will be important for campus life.
"I think this is going to unify the campus a lot," he said.
The project will take 14 months.