$1.4 million federal grant to help build career tech center in Fort Smith


The grant was announced at a press conference Monday (Sept. 30) at the Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce

FORT SMITH, Ark. (Talk Business & Politics) — Fort Smith Public Schools will receive a $1.4 million federal grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) to help build the district’s Career Technology Center, Talk Business & Politics reports.

The grant was announced at a press conference Monday (Sept. 30) at the Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Fort Smith voters approved the school millage increase in 2018, the first in 31 years, raising the millage rate in Fort Smith from 36.5 mills to 42 mills. The new rate is expected to raise $120.822 million, $35 million of which will go toward district-wide safety improvements and $13.724 million earmarked for a Career and Technology Center. The facility, which should open in 2021, will feature specialized lab spaces and classrooms for courses in healthcare, information technology, and advanced manufacturing within the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) disciplines, Talk Business & Politics reports.

The former Hutcheson shoe facility, a 181,710-square-foot building that sits on almost 17 acres at the corner of Zero Street and Painter Lane in east Fort Smith, was donated to FSPS for use as the center in February by the estate of William Hutcheson Jr., saving the district at least $3 million that had been budgeted to buy an existing building. This grant will save the district even more.

“This state-of-the-art facility will connect students with opportunities in advanced manufacturing, healthcare and information technology careers with focus on engaging instruction in the … STEAM disciplines. This will lead to the retention and expansion of employment opportunities in our state,” said Dr. Doug Brubaker, FSPS superintendent.

Read more, here.

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