The state has approved more than $130 million for construction projects at 92 Arkansas school districts next year, including $3.2 million for renovations to the junior high and $2.8 million for the heating and air-conditioning system at the high school in the Helena-West Helena School District and $15 million for a proposed new high school in Bentonville.
The projects were approved Wednesday by the Commission for Arkansas Public School Academic Facilities and Transportation. The Bentonville award was the largest single project approved Wednesday.
"We anticipated and were very happy we would be approved for that amount," said Sterling Ming, the district's executive director of finance.
Ming said a new high school could cost as much as $88 million. Voters in the Bentonville district rejected a 6.7-mill tax increase last June to pay for a second high school and other school improvements.
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported Thursday (http://bit.ly/ZuxXe5) that the state ranks proposals based on the condition of existing buildings, projected enrollment and property values in the district.
Other projects approved Wednesday include $4 million for a high school addition and $4.7 million for an auditorium in the Bryant School District, $5 7 million for a new middle school in the Brookland School District and $3.5 million for a new elementary school in the Greenbrier School District.
The commission also approved a total of $5.3 million for a new elementary school in Melbourne; $3 million for an addition to the high school in Prescott; and $2.2 million for renovations to Coleman Elementary School in the Watson Chapel School District in Pine Bluff.