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Southside Construction Projects Begin with Groundbreaking on October 28

The Southside High School community and Fort Smith citizens are invited to join the Fort Smith Public Schools as the district launches the first of the multi-phase construction projects with a Groundbreaking Ceremony at 5 p.m. Oct. 28 on the front lawn at Southside, 4100 Gary Street. 

Fort Smith Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Doug Brubaker said, “After months of careful planning, we are excited to kick off these transformative construction and renovation projects at Southside High School. We want to thank members of the Southside community in advance for their patience as we begin to 'turn dirt' in the process of completing this important work.”

With the planning and design phases complete, the expected 20-month construction period will present challenges for daily operations of the high school. 

Currently, contractors are working to fence the western side of the Southside campus to protect students and community during the construction period. With the assistance of the FSPS Police Department, school officials will reroute long-time traffic patterns to further ensure student and staff safety. New drop-off and pick up points for parents and bus traffic will become effective at the beginning of the school day on October 28, 2019. 

Parents and visitors will be able to access the main building and office through the doors on the east side of the building between the music department and the current gym. Parents may drop students off and pick them up at points in traffic lanes routed through the east parking lots. 

Bus lanes will be routed through the west parking lots. Students riding a bus will be dropped off near the indoor activity center. Access points will likely change as different phases of the overall project are completed between now and the expected completion date in August 2021.

Southside High School Principal Lisa Miller said, “I am so excited to see the beginning of this process that will bring such amazing improvements to the Southside campus. During this time of construction, communication with the community and families is crucial. We will work in multiple ways to ensure our stakeholders are informed and our students and staff are safe.”

The front of the building including the driveway on Gary Street will be wrapped for construction after the groundbreaking. 

A ninth-grade center, a competition gym, new administrative space and interior renovations which include a new library media center and cafeteria, as well as tornado safe rooms on each side of the campus is scheduled to open at the beginning of the 2021 school year. These projects were approved by Fort Smith and Barling residents in May 2018 as a part of the District’s Vision 2023 Capital Improvement Program focusing on student safety, student achievement, and workforce development.

New Traffic Patterns