A sneak peek of new Conway High School

by Sonja J. Keith

While crews are still putting the finishing touches on the building, Conway High School students and patrons had a special opportunity last week to get a sneak peek.

The Conway Public Schools Foundation hosted a preview party on Thursday, with money raised through the event to be used for teacher grants.

Students were on hand at the preview – from cheerleaders who greeted guests as they entered to musicians who provided entertainment throughout the building.

In addition to a self-guided tour of portions of the new building, event organizers also displayed school memorabilia – from photos and yearbooks to a vintage homecoming queen dress and crown. A photo booth also allowed those in attendance to have their picture taken to commemorate the event.

The new, three-story, 165,000-square-foot school features 10 science labs, eight special needs classrooms, four art classrooms and six computer labs. The building will also house administration offices and a lecture hall that will seat three classrooms of students.

The media center at the new high school.

Dr. Greg Murry, superintendent of the Conway district, said eight tractor-trailers will soon deliver the remaining furniture for the building. Afterward, final touches – like the polishing of the stained concrete floors – will be completed.

The building is expected to be ready for the first day of school on Monday, Aug. 20. An official open house and dedication are planned Sunday, Sept. 16.

According to Jan Spann, foundation president, the group’s purpose is “helping teachers help students.”

In addition to the preview, the foundation has organized the “Honor the Past, Build a Foundation” brick campaign. For $100, a personalized brick will be placed in the new Wampus Cat Courtyard between the new high school building and the new cafeteria to be completed in 2013. Bricks can also be ordered on the foundation website.

The view of the space where a courtyard will be placed and where the former high school stood.

Funds from the preview party, brick campaign and other contributions will go into an endowment at the Arkansas Community Foundation, from which annual teacher grants will be generated from the endowment’s net income, leaving the principal preserved as a perpetual source of funding.

Teacher grants support classroom and school grants, tutoring and enrichment, classroom supplies, and teacher development and recognition. These programs and supplies cannot be funded through the regular budget, and teachers quite often fund these needs themselves.

“Your investment in CPSF’s mission helps ensure the best educational opportunities for our students, helping them to reach their full potential,” Spann said.

For more information on the foundation, the event or the brick campaign, contact Spann at 501.339.7544 or [email protected], or visit cpsfoundation.com.

Workers are putting the finishing touches on the new high school.