Walnut Ridge School District getting first major construction project in 30 years

WALNUT RIDGE, AR (KAIT) - The Walnut Ridge School District is more than half way finished with a new addition to their campus. And apparently, it's been long time coming.

"It the first major project we've had in thirty plus years," said Terry Belcher, who is the Superintendent with the Walnut Ridge School District. And change is in the air. A 4.6 million dollar new state of the art facility to be exact.

"We received a little over 2 million dollars from the state to help build it. The state saw the need, we saw the need and we moved forward," said Belcher.

Construction started last January. The new addition, was initially two separate projects, but came together with the available funds. A portion of the funds went to provide updates to the current library and computer lab.

High School Principal Mark Manchester says the new building will give student more opportunities.

"Particularly in our science department. We'll have numerous lab opportunities that we didn't have before. It's just an exciting time for our school without question," said Manchester.

The building will house two new science labs, along with classrooms. Along with a Fine Arts wing, designed individually for the art, choir, and band departments. And what many are excited about, a new in-door turf Physical Education Facility.

"We're not limited by weather, we're not limited by time of year. We can just offer so many other things, it's very exciting and it gives our sports team advantage as well," said Manchester.

And in a smaller town, like Walnut Ridge, where the local school district is the heart of the community, seeing growth is good.

"The whole community is excited about it. People drive by, ask how the building is going, and talk about how they saw the buildings coming up, and when you getting in," said Belcher.

Belcher hopes to have the project completed by March 1st and wants to move students into the new facility as soon as possible.

Copyright 2011 KAIT. All rights reserved.