EUREKA SPRINGS SCHOOL BOARD LEASES FORMER SCHOOL SITE TO FOUNDATION FOR COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

At their regular monthly meeting on November 30, the Eureka Springs Board of Education voted to lease the former high school site at 44 Kingshighway to the Eureka Springs Community Center Foundation (ESCCF). The terms of the lease include an annual rent of $20,000.00 for twenty years to be credited in full against the purchase price for the property of $400,000.00.

The Community Center Foundation, evolved from the school facilities committee to the Greater Eureka Springs Chamber into what is now  a 501(C)3 organization.  The plan ESCCF has developed reflects the wishes of the residents and business community as set forth during several public sessions and community gatherings.

The Eureka Springs Highlander Community Center Plan will include an outdoor amphitheater, a community center, exercise and class rooms, 13,000 sq. ft. of Class A office space, an outdoor pool, and splash park. The estimated cost to complete the project is $5 million.  Full details will be presented to attendees at the Annual Chamber Banquet on December 15th when the foundation website will go live and fundraising will commence.

“We are so pleased we could reach an agreement with the School Board,” said Diane Murphy, Chair of the Community Foundation Board. “In anticipation of signing this agreement, the Board and I have been working on many fundraising strategies. We have identified funding thresholds, which the public will hear more on the 15th. Of course, throughout the process, we will seek volunteers as well as ask for public input, both formally and informally.”

“This creative campus in this prime location is a great blend of opportunities for our business community, for our residents, and for our tourists,” Glenn Crenshaw, Vice-Chair of the Foundation Board, “I am looking forward to the next steps.”

CONTACT: DIANE MURPHY, 479-981-1323 OR GLENN CRENSHAW, 479-981-1579

1950s prototype school building facing demolition

 

BILL BOWDEN ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE 

July 6, 2015

EUREKA SPRINGS — In a city famous for its Victorian architecture, the proposed demolition of an institutional-looking 1951 building has provoked preservationists, but there’s been little public outcry to save it. The building served as Eureka Springs High School until January 2013, when students began attending a new school that was built on Lake Lucerne Road. The one-story, 24,096-square-foot old high school building on U.S. 62 has remained vacant since then. Considered by many to be an eyesore, the building was designed by a Fayetteville architect and served as the prototype for more than 50 schools that were built in 20 states and Canada. Last month, the Eureka Springs Historic District Commission approved tearing down the old high school to make way for an outdoor events center. Dee Bright, chairman of the commission, said school administrators let the building decay so they could get permission to demolish it. Bright cast the deciding vote to allow the demolition after touring the building for the first time in two years and deciding it would cost too much money to restore it. “They had turned off the power,” Bright said. “They weren’t keeping it up. I was so appalled at the damage when I walked in that door. I wanted it saved, from the historic perspective. It could be saved, but it would take lots of money.” Bright said the roof leaked, and school administrators didn’t put up tarps to keep the rain out. “They didn’t even try,” she said. David Kellogg, former superintendent of the Eureka Springs School District, disagreed with most of what Bright said. “Anytime there was a leak, we patched the leak,” Kellogg said. “It’s hard to tarp a large building like that.” Kellogg noted it would have been expensive to heat and air-condition the empty building. He said the school district was already paying $30,000 a year for utilities, insurance, maintenance and repair of the building. Kellogg was superintendent in Eureka Springs until Tuesday. He left to take a job as assistant superintendent in Prairie Grove. In Eureka Springs’ historic district, architecturally intact buildings that are more than 50 years old are considered to be “contributing” to the district. Demolition of any building in the district must be approved by the city’s Historic District Commission. The entire city was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970 and was relisted in 2005 as nationally significant. The old high school is within the historic district. The demolition permit is good for one year.

Read the remaining piece at www. Ardemgaz.com