School district working to complete upgrades before new year

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HIGHLAND, Ark. (KAIT) – A school district in northeast Arkansas is working to wrap up renovation projects, just in time for the new school year.

The Highland School District made plans last spring to renovate Cherokee Elementary School and add to Highland Middle School.

“We were arranging gear throughout the spring so we were ready to go after day school ended because we knew the window would be tight,” Superintendent Jeremy Lewis said.

The window is getting tighter by the minute, as teachers report to school in early August and children start class on August 15.

Lewis said the job is on time and should be finished soon.

“We hope to spend the last week of July, so that our custodial staff can go in there and do the things that we need to do to ensure that our teachers have enough time to go back there and prepare their classrooms for the start of school,” he explained.

Cherokee Elementary will see new technology, floors, ceilings, windows and a fresh coat of paint, while the middle school will see a cafeteria addition, as well as a food storage facility.

Lewis also said the school was paying for the multimillion-dollar project from multiple school mills and ESSER funds, adding that he wanted stakeholders to be proud of what they had.

“We always want to make sure we’re being conscientious with our taxpayers’ money, and our board does a fantastic job of that,” Lewis said.

The project is expected to cost around $9 million.

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