Final beam placed in construction of new LRSD southwest high school

Construction workers throw dust off the second floor of the new Little Rock Southwest High School as a crane lifts the final beam of the project into place. (Photo: KATV)

Just a year ago, Little Rock School District officials celebrated the groundbreaking of their new high school in southwest Little Rock. Now they're marking another milestone - the placement of the project's final beam.

"The actual Gryphon logo-design - there will be a terraza right there in the middle and it'll have this exact design that was selected by the community, students and parents," said Marvin Burton, LRSD deputy superintendent, taking media on a tour of the new facility.

District leaders were joined by state and local dignitaries for a "topping-out" ceremony at the school off Mabelvale Pike on Wednesday. The 400,000 square-foot space will eventually combine the student populations of McClellan & J.A. Fair when it's ready to start taking students in the fall of 2020.

The state-of-the-art facility will include 65 oversized classrooms, a two-level media center, 1200-seat auditorium, visual and performing arts center and arena-sized gymnasium - just a small list of Little Rock Southwest's new amenities.

LRSD Superintendent Michael Poore praised the progress being made on the new high school, commenting on the district's currently decaying high schools, chiding critics of the $101 million dollar project who claim the school is too expensive.

"Was it too much money to go build in Benton? Was it too much money to go build things in Bryant? Was it too much money to build in North Little Rock," questioned Poore.

"Is it not right to go do what kids in southwest should get? Do they not deserve to have rooms with walls that actually go all the way to the floor - to have heating and air-conditioning?"

While the LRSWHS opening is still two years off, Poore said the district plans to post the principal job for the school sometime in November and hope to have someone selected for the position by February.

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