Road Construction Could Impact College Campus

PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) -- A proposed bypass could take the traffic right through the center of the Crowley's Ridge College campus

This proposal is one of four routes that the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department has proposed for the future bypass for Paragould.

The 25% chance that the road could go through campus is making students and administrators at CRC nervous.

"I wouldn't want it split up or anything like that because I don't want to have to walk across a highway to get to science class or have to worry about all that traffic that you would hear," said student Elise Edmonds.

Students are used to having some minor traffic come through the campus, but what they're not used to is the proposal which would put cars traveling at around 55 mph coming straight through campus.

CRC President Ken Hoppe said not only would this disturb students it would also require the destruction of one of the dormitories which houses 74% of the students.

"We'd actually have our science building and a building where we have additional classes and daily chapel services on the opposite side of campus from the administration building, gymnasium, dormitories, and cafeteria," said Hoppe.

The cost to build a new dorm would cost $4 to $5 million and take about three years to construct.  The one thing opponents can do to try to stop this is let their concerns be known.

"We were told from the very beginning that public comment would be needed to change the alignment to Highway 412 and to keep it from coming through the college campus," said Hoppe.

In addition to the problems this would cause now, Hoppe said it would also impact their growth.  The college is one step away from being able to offer a bachelor's program for its students.

"In our history this is just not a very good time for this to be considered as a  proposed highway route coming through the college campus," said Hoppe.

Don Nichols with the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department said they are getting multiple letters and emails everyday about this issue and that they may consider an adjustment of the route based on the response from the public.