Jonesboro school auditorium: why progress stalled

By Keith Boles - bio | email feedback

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Since the school millage passed for Jonesboro schools, evidence of construction is a daily event for those dropping off their students.

While the new cafeteria, the gym at the high school, and other buildings are getting remodeled;  progress on the new auditorium seems to have hit a snag. Rumors are flying over why the project has stalled.

With winter coming on, will be auditorium project be put on the back burner?

We have 3 projects underway, one has been completed. said Dr. Kim Wilbanks, Superintendent of Jonesboro schools but the question is ; A lot of people are wanting to know what the status of the theater is. That's what the pad of dirt is behind the high school. Well for various reasons, it's a little behind.

Dr. Wilbanks says the initial designs for the theater would have cost more money than they had to spend, so they made some changes in the plan.

Wilbanks, "We did reduce the square footage but the square footage was primarily reduced in the lobby area and we eliminated a hallway and we did a little bit of redesign."

Although the theater and seating will stay the same, with the delays for design,  the original completion time in September of 2012 has changed.

Wilbanks, "We think now we'll probably be in that building in December or January, just a few months difference."

But the other main projects are moving right along. That includes new classrooms and a new cafeteria that are now starting construction after the staircase was completed at Annie Camp. The stair case and third floor modifications had to be done to allow emergency egress.

New classrooms, a new cafeteria kitchen, new shelving and a small addition to the library at international studies as well as the awning were ready for the first day of school. The library had a pit area in it that was filled giving the room more floor space.

And the High School gym is getting a facelift including new dressing rooms, new concession areas better drainage in the parking lot and new seat coverings in the gym itself. Also a new metal roof is soon to be attached to the gym. That completion date is set for October.

Wilbanks, "We should be in the gymnasium and the newly renovated and added areas for basketball season this year."

Annie Camp should be done around Christmas. The whole project should be done by the end of the Spring Semester.

Dr. Wilbanks says that they are looking for input on the theater. They will beholding a public meeting this Thursday the first at 6 PM. The meeting will take place at the High School, drawings of the new building both inside and out will be available and questions about the building will be answered.