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Batesville School District breaks ground on multi-million dollar expansion

BATESVILLE, Ark. (KAIT) - An Independence County School District broke ground on a new expansion on Wednesday. Batesville School District hosted a celebration of the work that has begun on its new high school cafeteria and fine arts facility.

The multi-million-dollar expansion will allow the high school to have its own cafeteria instead of sharing with the Jr. High School like it’s currently doing. Fine arts programs like choir, band, performing arts, and more will also have additional classroom space. Superintendent Dr. Michael Hester said overall, the school was beginning to need space in general.

“We’ve been growing. We’ve grown about 500-660 kids in last 6-7 years, so we’ve needed the space, but also the update,” Dr. Hester explained.

In 2021, the district put a millage increase on the ballot that would help pay for the addition. In addition to the failed millage increase, the school also faced issues with inflation, cost increases, and more. Despite the setbacks, Dr. Hester said thanks to the hard work of school board members and administrators, the project is finally a reality.

“Those are always challenges to be able to get folks to consider a tax raise. That was defeated. Our board said we had to get this done, so we paired it down to what we needed to have. We were able to refinance and through their conservative approach to saving, we’ve saved around $10 million,” Dr. Hester added.

While a specific date for when the addition will be finished is unknown, the school hopes to have it open by the end of 2024.

KAIT News | By Hayden Savage
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Watch the video renderings of the new facility: