The Eureka Springs Community Center Foundation (ESCCF) is pleased to share the plans to redevelop the former Eureka Springs High School into a vibrant Community Center complex for the Western District, plans that are based on community suggestions at a series of town meetings.
There have been numerous community meetings with citizens, city government, the Historic District Commission, and the Eureka Springs Parks and Recreation Commission with assistance from the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service’s Breakthrough Solutions Program.
The Eureka Springs Community Center will enhance the quality of life for area residents and will trigger increased economic development in this Arkansas rural community. Upon completion, we expect to create an active campus that engages youth and re-energizes our community spirit.
The ESCCF continues to work on fundraising efforts including private donations, grants, and corporate support to development this former school property into a facility to be enjoyed by the whole community.
The Community Center will encompass history of place, while charting a sustainable course for the future. It will support local food sourcing, stimulate trails development, provide a community gathering place, and promote healthy lifestyles. It will also provide a centrally located venue for educational programs to be enjoyed by multitudes of visitors to the region and residents who are hungry to improve their skills.
The property consists of several structures located on 25 city lots. The old gym and adjoining classrooms will house the recreational and educational components. It will also allow for use as expanded event and meeting space. The large original classroom building has already been demolished. This area has been converted to an open outdoor area for activities including concerts, craft shows and the local Farmer’s Market. The third building, which consists of eight classrooms with restrooms, the cafeteria, and the basement level art room will be transformed into Class A office space. The proceeds from the Office Park will be used to supplement the operations of the Community Center. Later in the development plan, the property will also be developed to include an aquatic center and splash park.
The land and buildings are held under an agreement to lease with a future expectation of the site being acquired, developed and managed by the Eureka Springs Community Center Foundation, a 501C3 organization. The Foundation is working in partnership with the Eureka Springs Parks and Recreation Commission for operation of the events space, trail hub, community center, and aquatic center.
Redevelopment of an Aged School Site into a Creative Campus through a Proven Formula of Economic Improvement Strategies
Preserve Our Sense of Place—while Charting our Course for the Future
- Develops “Gateway to the Historic District”— as determined by community input.
- Expands the Downtown Network boundaries and becomes central to its revitalization initiatives.
- Charts sustainable usage plan engaging community youth in after school and recreational programming, access to secondary education classes, and small business opportunities.
- Addresses attrition in population by improving quality of life for all ages through development of community center and community trails hub.
Presenting the Ozarks at the Gateway to Eureka Springs
- The Community Center will have a significant Visitor Interpretive Center introducing our REGION as a WHOLE and reshaping visitors’ perceptions. The Center will educate and engage a new generation of travelers to the Ozarks while adding to the experience of the current guests.
Supporting Local Food Sourcing and Outdoor Programming
- Year-round, multiple day support of long-running and very popular Farmers’ Market.
- Multi-use outdoor events space for farmers markets, concerts, exhibitions, and more.
Primary Trail Hub to the Eureka Springs (and potentially as part of the Regional) Trail System
- With its location atop and at a main entrance/exit to downtown and at the halfway point between Harmon Park and Black Bass Lake, with an in-place sidewalk system, the site is being designated as the primary trail hub for the system. It will be developed to include enhanced green space, adequate parking and a secured hiking and mountain biking holding area.
- As school buses cannot legally operate on the Historic Loop, the site will serve as the primary pickup school bus stop for students living in the Historic District.
Working with Youth—Partnership with the Eureka Springs Parks and Recreation Commission
- Eureka Springs Parks and Recreation Commission plans to operate the Community Center and to add after-school programming and homework assistance. The Commission will reemphasize its commitment to recreational programming in its mission.
- The Eureka Springs Carnegie Library will create a remote access center and book return at the site.
- Through programming and education, the Community Center will seek partners to stimulate arts and culture for the area through youth programming, continuing adult education, and through public performances.
Cornerstone for Economic Development and Continuing Education
- The Community Center Foundation Board will develop a 13,000 sq. ft. Class A office space complex with 9 rental (income producing) areas in the Community Center.
- The Community Center Foundation Board plans to work with North Arkansas College on Workforce Development through development of the Technology Center in the Community Center which will provide easy access to Distance Education.
- The Technology Center will have Broadband Access for county residents.
- The project will allow for an additional 21,000 sq. ft. of expanded meeting and banquet space.
- The Community Center will stimulate family travel by adding an aquatic center, mountain biking, and attractions.
- Kitchen facilities will be available for events and for continued educational opportunities for chef entrepreneurs.
Example of Environmental Sustainability
- This project will remove a troubled building with environmental concerns (asbestos). COMPLETED January 2017
- The Community Center will include solar, green pavers, water collection and many other sustainability strategies for practicality and for demonstration to other communities