NLR schools look to begin major construction project

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NORTH LITTLE ROCK, AR — Fifty years ago when the Robersons moved onto West 38th Street, school leaders opened Belwood Elementary.

“We didn’t have air conditioners at that time when the school opened. It took them a while to get stuff like that,” said Edna Roberson, who lives near the school.

It seems like just yesterday Edna saw her children and grandchildren off to class — literally a hop, skip, and a jump away.

“We raised our kids right there in that school and the teachers were just like family,” said Roberson.

But declining enrollment is why Belwood won’t reopen next school year.

“Our parents, our community and our students were a part of creating that plan so they actually helped make that plan,” said Shara Brazear, spokeswoman for the North Little Rock School District.

Belwood is one of eight schools that will close as the district prepares for a $265 million construction project. The schools that remain open like Lakewood Middle will be made like new.

“We’ll have a gymnasium in all of our elementary schools, we’ll have a dedicated art room in all of our elementary schools and we’ll have a dedicated room in all of our schools,” said Brazear.

While Roberson supported the tax, she hopes the school — filled with family memories — remains a part of the community.

“Maybe have some programs, either for the kids, grownups or whatever,” said Roberson.

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