Van Buren’s new school on Northridge Drive will be named Oliver Springs Elementary School.
Members of the Van Buren School District board of education voted 5-0 Tuesday night to follow the recommendation of a committee selected to come up with a name for the school.
Carman Young, Kevin Bell, Theresa Bell, Lance Lanier and Christy Mayo cast the “yes” votes. Candice Settle-Beshears and J.R. McPhate were absent.
Deputy Superintendent Brian Summerhill said the committee also suggested North Pointe, City Heights, Hillcrest and Summit as possible names for the elementary school that is under construction.
Oliver Springs Elementary will house about 450 students and include more parking than other schools in the district. The 60,000-square-foot school will be two-story on the 21-acre site north of Interstate 40.
Classrooms will be located on both the first and second floors. Classrooms will be on one end of the building with offices, cafeteria and gymnasium on the other end, he said.
Oliver Springs Elementary’s cost will be about $12 million. The Arkansas Facilities Division approved $5.3 million in state funding to help construct the school.
On Tuesday, Superintendent Dr. Harold Jeffcoat said Nabholz Construction has faced several challenges with getting construction under way.
“There is a lot of rock on the site which required additional study,” Jeffcoat said. “There is a watershed problem with a pond which we are still working with and Nabholz had to do an archaeological study.”
He told the board the school’s opening date remains scheduled for August 2019.
“I am a little nervous to commit, but Nabholz says it is doable,” Jeffcoat said. “I am still going to work on a contingency plan.”
The superintendent also told the board the district has requested funding from the Arkansas Facilities Division for roofing and heating and air-conditioning repairs to several schools, including Central, Parkview, Rena, Northridge, Butterfield Trail and Tate.
“We are keeping our fingers crossed for funding,” Jeffcoat said.
Activities Administrator Drew Cone said VBSD has received $125,000 in grants for walking trails and exercise stations at four school, including Rena, Tate, Butterfield Trail and City Heights.
The district has partnered with the City of Van Buren to upgrade walking trails at Central and King elementary and Freshman Academy.
During Tuesday’s meeting, the board recognized Van Buren High School’s Technology Student Association and its adviser, Dr. Joe McLean.
Van Buren’s TSA chapter was formed at the beginning of the 2017-18 school year and 14 students went to their first competition in November. All placed and qualified for the national conference in Atlanta. Eleven were able to attend.
The Van Buren state winners and national qualifiers were Mami Inthirathvongsy, music production and video game design; Marjorie Weaver, children’s stories; Astrid Rodriguez, photographic technology; Maria Cruz-Chavez, technology bowl; Haeli Linton, video game design; Spencer Holmes, problem solving; Ryan Arnold, problem solving and technology bowl; Taryn Williams, video game design; Hope Roberts, children’s stories; Drew King, engineering CAD; and Cole Irwin, technology bowl.
Spencer Holmes and Ryan Arnold were recognized with the second-place trophy in the problem solving national competition.
The board also hired Emily Sullivan as a teacher’s aide at Parkview Elementary School and accepted the resignations of Jennifer Prado as a teacher at Van Buren High School, Sue Simmons as a teacher at Parkview, Jenifer Wilson as a teacher’s aide at Parkview, Gary Bowen and Allen Wolfe as bus drivers and Gavin Stewart and Wanda Foulk as cooks.