Eureka Springs Community Center to renovate youth center

Thursday, February 13, 2020

By Haley Schichtl

The Eureka Springs School Board heard from the Eureka Springs Community Center Foundation about a new youth center at its meeting Monday, Feb. 10.

Community center chairwoman Diane Murphy and secretary Kathleen Remenar were at the meeting to show the board their progress and future plans.

“One of our best partnerships is the after-school program that’s being done, and that’s had such a positive impact and has grown,” Remenar said. “We’re trying to find a way with the older kids to keep them busy after school.”

Remenar said the community center recently received an anonymous $5,000 donation and asked people to vote on what they would like to see at the community center.

“They voted to complete an area right now that’s dedicated to youth activity,” Remenar said.

She said the new room will have chairs, a foosball table and board games.

Murphy said the center also recently unveiled a 2020 work plan.

“The first priority is completing the development of the office park. That was a key component in financial sustainability,” Murphy said. “There’s no way we can exist on user fees; we’re so dependent on donations, grants and fundraisers. The office park … will get rented out. The revenue from that becomes the supplemental operating revenue for the community center.”

She said the community center is also working on a walking trail around the perimeter. The roof on the band room has been replaced and the community center has extended its hours to Monday to Friday from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Also at the meeting, high school agriculture teacher Jason McAfee filled in for Principal David Gilmore to discuss what is happening at the high school.

“Eureka Springs High School is having two nights of ladies’ self-defense classes,” McAfee said. “This was one goal Mr. Pruitt had that we are fulfilling with the help of our new SRO, Joey Luper, and other officers from the Eureka Springs Police Department. We have 14 ladies signed up for this week. We plan to do this in the future and open it up to staff and possibly some community members.”

McAfee said the drama club is performing Beauty and the Beast Jr. at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday night in the high school auditorium, and the marching band is performing at the Mardi Gras parade on Saturday, Feb. 22.

“I also have some exciting news for you from agriculture,” McAfee said. “Back in October, I found out that the state was looking at making particular ag classes that are what’s considered CASE certification.”

He said CASE stands for Curriculum for Agriculture Science Education, an institute where agriculture teachers get certified to teach particular classes. McAfee said he teaches plant science and there is a CASE plant science certification available, which he will now teach as a full science elective.

“We received that grant … $32,146 to start up this program. It’s a very rigorous program. We consider CASE classes to be on the level of AP courses,” McAfee said.

Sixth grade language arts and social studies teacher Julie Milburn spoke on behalf of the middle school.

“We just completed interim two testing, and we have started to meet with Ms. Holt with our reports,” Milburn said. “Reality Check will be coming the last week of February to discuss healthy choices with fifth- and seventh-grade students.”

Pre-school teachers Jennifer Robison and Tara Green presented their progress with the pre-k program.

Robison said they each teach a class of 20 children, with a paraprofessional in each room and one split between the classrooms. They showed the board national statistics on how pre-k children learn by playing.

“It’s our responsibility to provide those experiences, so they can discover through their own learning and teacher guidance,” Robison said. “So it’s not just sitting down and filling out worksheets.”

The school board’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Monday, March 9 in the administration building.

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