Central High Little Rock 649de01923d75

$60 million upgrade approved for Central High School in Little Rock, Ark.

June 29, 2023
The camps will add a three-story science building and a two-story field house.

The Little Rock (Ark.) School Board has approved spending $60.6 million to construct a three-story science building and a two-story field house at Central High School.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that the board approved a guaranteed maximum price of $60,627,694 for the additions on the south side of the historic campus.

In 1957, nine Black students, escorted by federal troops ordered into action by President Dwight Eisenhower, endured the threats and racist taunts of segregationists and began classes at Central High School.

Wesley Walls, principal with the Polk Stanley Wilcox architecture firm that has designed the Central additions, told the board that the significance of Central's history and its architecture "is not lost on us."

He said the completed science building and field house will be "sympathetic to the current school but something that is distinguishable as being something new."

"We have taken the pattern of the original building, the texture, the proportions of the windows," he said.

The brick on the front of the original 1920s building stands out and the windows are recessed; on the new building, the windows will stand out and the brick will be recessed.

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