Eureka Springs to Turn Old High School Into Community Center

Local News
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EUREKA SPRINGS, Ark. (KOLR) – The City of Eureka Springs is working to preserve a piece of its past while charting a new course for its future.

Eureka Springs High School students moved to a new building three years ago, and since then the city has been looking for ways to reuse and revitalize the old one.

“It feels exciting to me to just think that this could be reinvigorated,” says Eureka Springs Community Center Foundation chair, Diane Murphy. “It could have a whole new life and a whole new energy.”

“The community wants a gathering space,” says Foundation treasurer, Jack Moyer.

“It wants a place where we can play together, meet together,” he says, “and the community center was the best option for that.”

Moyer says the Highlander Community Center will transform the former school, with some 50 years of history, into the gateway for the town’s historic district.

He says the plans are centered around feedback the foundation has received from the community.

“It’s going to have a gymnasium, it’s going to have meeting rooms, it’s going to have a technology center,” he says. “We’re going to green up the middle [courtyard] which will also be for events, meetings, and farmer’s markets.”

Moyer says the project will also have a workout area, act as the start of a unique trail system and could feature an aquatic center down the road.

However, he says one of the most important elements is making sure the center is self-sustaining.

“We have individuals that want to be in business here,” he says, “but they need Class-A office space to do that. Our classroom building will give us that opportunity.”

The project could cost between $5,000,000-$6,000,000, but the foundation wants to focus on smaller financial goals along the way.

Moyer says the foundation needs $500,000 to trigger the lease, and roughly $2,000,000 to begin work on the office space, gym and meeting rooms.

“If a community is going to be successful,” he says, “successful communities support themselves.”

“The motivation for sure is community driven,” Murphy says, “but there are tourism components to help create it, and pay for it, and allow it to be successful.”

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