River Valley high school getting a facelift


FORT SMITH, Ark. (KFTA) — A multimillion-dollar construction project is underway at a River Valley high school.

Southside High School will see a new competition gymnasium, secure front entry, and storm centers when construction is complete.

Bill Hollenbeck, chief of the Fort Smith Public Schools Police Department said traffic around the school will be slow over the next several months.

“We’re going to have a little bit of a mess during construction,” Hollenbeck said. “But we’re hoping with the good staff that we have, and officers that are going to be working and the great parents that we have, that we’re going to have a smooth transition.”

Hollenbeck said students can be dropped off at the east entrance while the main entrance is shut down during construction.

The $42 million project will also include a wing for the first freshman class coming to the school.

“Ninth grade is the most critical year of high school in my opinion,” said Lisa Miller, principal of the school. “That’s the year where we really set that firm foundation. We really get them to understand credit and start looking at a skill and a plan, a path for after graduation.”

Right now, the school houses 10th through 12th grade students.

Construction is expected to be completed in August of 2021.

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