Arkansas school making improvements with stimulus money - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Arkansas school making improvements with stimulus money

By Keith Boles - bio | email feedback

GOSNELL, AR (KAIT) - The Gosnell school district is getting a lot of bang for their stimulus bucks. Although the stimulus pool is about dry, it is always interesting to see what schools have done with their drops. The Gosnell School District has squeezed every last drop and accomplished quite a lot.

Gosnell School Superintendent Bonard Mace, said patience paid off when it came to stimulus money.  The district waited to see what it could be used for and how it should be used correctly to go the farthest.

Mace, "We had community members, we had different administrators, we all got together and wondered what was our need here. Of course our need was what we had already got started. "

The district had several projects already underway or getting ready to get started with funds from state sources.

Mace, "What we really did was piggyback on partnership money that the state already had us in. Which was a program and we took the additional funds and paid for those."

One of the big renovations the school did was the blue gym, they pretty much gutted it and started all over again.

New floor, new walls, bleachers, dressing rooms, insulation and a snazzy blue paint job. When the Elementary school was built all the classrooms emptied to the outside exposing kids to the elements. But not anymore. All the classrooms that are being used now have enclosed hallways out their doors instead of the outside.

Mace, "So we're enclosing those rooms and what we found out was your utility costs go down and you have many, many benefits."

The grants also provided for technology. Both the high school and elementary school have JEdI learning labs now. JEdI stands for "Juvenile Education Initiative."It helps kids with their school work instead of them going into remedial programs.

The elementary school has rooms to spare, classrooms that are used for storage or just locked up. That's not the case at the high school. Principal Brian Carter showed me the 4 new classrooms that were attached to the present building. They just opened this year.

Carter, "We were in need of some classroom space. Our student population had outgrown the building that we had and we had the opportunity to get some classrooms and it has really worked to our benefit."

Two of the rooms are regular classrooms. Two are computer labs. One computer lab is dedicated to the JEdI program, the other is open to all on a reservation basis. One new classroom is for Health and the other for English.

The school received around Eight Hundred Thousand Dollars total and Mace feels that they have gotten lots of bang for their bucks. Gosnell Schools he says has always benefited from wise financial planning and he hopes he can keep up the trend.

Mace, "Make sure we make the right decisions that financially this place will be here for generations to come."

Copyright 2011 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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