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Bentonville West High School breaks ground in Centerton, Ark.

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Bentonville High School, currently the only high school in the district is overcrowded. The population in Northwest Arkansas is continuing to grow every year. In order to deal with the growth, the Bentonville School District finally got approval for a new high school. On June 23, 2014, NWA Homepage News reported on the ground breaking ceremony.

What’s the cost?

The new high school comes at a high cost. Bentonville School District purchased the 90-acre site for $2.65 million back in 2006. Most of the land is abandoned pasture. Site work will cost $7.12 million. Final costs for the building and road work have not been finalized—it is expected that the final bids will be submitted in the fall.

Not everyone wanted a new school

It took several years for the school board to get voter approval. Cost overruns and increased millage were at the core of the debate. However, the only high school in the district is well over capacity. Trailers were brought in to help ease the overcrowding, but this is just a temporary solution. Bentonville High School was built to accommodate a maximum of 3700 students. The district estimates that the population of the school will be at 4300 by next year. Bentonville West is scheduled to open in August 2016. In the mean time, students and teachers will have to deal with the over-crowding.

New schools, new business

Bentonville West High School is actually located in Centerton, a small city of 9,500 people. It is located just west of Bentonville and the city is part of the Bentonville School District. Centerton’s Mayor, Bill Edwards, says that since the new school was announced, there has been a huge increase in building permits and interest in properties along Route 102. Most of that land is now sold. Mercy is building a medical center, Walmart has opened a neighborhood market and it plans to open a super center in 2015. Is this all due to a new school? Probably not. The economy has turned around a bit and banks are slowly starting to lend again. However, something had to be done about the overcrowding at Bentonville High. A new school was a good solution.

Lynda Altman is very concerned about the state of the public schools in Arkansas and the United States. She writes a blog called Homeschooling When Mom has Cancer. Get notices when this page is updated by clicking on the subscribe link, by email, or contact Lynda @fusgeyer on Twitter.

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