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story.lead_photo.caption The gym area of the new Two Rivers High School near Ola is under construction and is scheduled to open this fall. - Photo by Rusty Hubbard

— On Jan. 15, members of the Two Rivers School District announced the closing of Ola and Plainview-Rover high schools. This announcement, however, was just another step in the process of the consolidation of the two schools.

Ground was broken in late October 2008 for the new Two Rivers High School. The project was originally scheduled to be completed in December 2009. However, because of weather delays, the 125,000-square-foot building is still under construction, said Sherry Holliman, Two Rivers School District superintendent.

“They are down to flooring,” she said. “They are inside the building. There may be 25 different specialty areas they are working on.

... There’sjust a lot of stuff still.”

In keeping with the original plan, the school is still set to open for the 2010 fall semester.

Holliman said the school district decided in 2008 to consolidate the schools.

“It was just in the best interest of all the children to pool all the resources,” she said. “We felt like we could offer a better education to the students if they were all in one location.”

Funding for the project came from $6.2 million the district had set aside and from second-lien bonds for $2.5 million. Holliman said the rest of the estimated $15 million would come from the state through the Arkansas Academic Facilities Partnership Fund.

Holliman said in an October 2008 interview after ground was broken on the project that the125,000-square-foot building will include a multipurpose building for sports such as basketball and volleyball, as well as other large gatherings; a 450-seat auditorium; two science labs; a library with 20 computer stations; classrooms; a cafeteria; a distance learning lab; two computer labs; a conference room; administrative offices; and an agriculture facility that will be connected to the main building but will be a facility unto itself.

“We have one on the Plainview campus now,” Holliman said. “We will be offering the same course work that we have offered before. Welding is probably the class that our students enjoy the most.”

Faculty and administration are looking ahead to fall, when the high school will officially open.Holliman said no formal decisions have been made about staff cuts and redistribution.

“I don’t know that there will be faculty that will have to be cut,” she said.

Holliman said 600 students from Plainview-Rover, Ola and other Two Rivers School District campuses, including Casa and Fourche Valley, will attendschool in the new facility. She pointed out that the Two Rivers School District covers more than 605 square miles.

“The students can’t wait,” she said. “Of course, there are always challenges when you’re bringing multi-communities together who have been separate identities, but if we just keep in mind that our main focus is on children, they tend to adapt extremely well.” - czilk@

River Valley Ozark, Pages 183 on 02/07/2010

Print Headline: Two become one

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