The drivers on Grand Avenue had a front row seat on some of the most visible improvements on the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith campus this summer, but a lot more is happening than you think.
Summer is always a busy time for UAFS as it tries to use fewer students and fewer cars on campus for physical improvement.
UAFS and the City of Fort Smith had made an early leap forward by repairing drainage and installing new box culverts in front of the Sebastian Commons dorm complex on N.49th Street. With the addition of a new metal floor sewer intake, these improvements were intended to improve drainage around Sebastian Commons and Grand Avenue.
Without a doubt, the biggest project on campus that summer was the demolition of the Holt Building, an aging classroom building on Grand Avenue. When the demo has been completed and the site cleared, the area will be used as a green area on the north side of the campus.
Among the many interior plans for the campus are a refresh of the four campus domes on Donald W. Reynolds Campus Green, an area preferred by community members who enjoy strolling around campus on the relatively cool summer evenings. Initial improvements and landscaping have been completed, seating areas replacement and brick repair pending.
The bell tower will also be routinely serviced this summer. A new hard-wired Apollo system and industrial-grade surge protector are installed, and worn metal bats on the bells are replaced with electromagnetic bats. The clock controls, motors and the universal joint are replaced.
Improvements to the satellite campus locations are also underway. In the Bakery District on the former Shipley Baking site, rooms are being prepared as new homes for the Center for Business and Professional Development and the Family Enterprise Center, both of which are currently located in the Flanders Building on the main campus. Offices, meeting and work rooms as well as classrooms and a conference room on the first floor will be built on the second floor of the bakery.
On the UAFS campus in Van Buren, the Drennon Scott House and the Willhaf House are to be historically restored over the course of this summer. Interior and exterior repairs and painting are expected at both locations, with some mechanical upgrades to the Willhaf house.
Enhancements and additions to classrooms, offices, and halls in Math / Science, Vines, Echols, Pendergraft Health Science, Boreham Library, and BII (I forget what that stands for) are either completed or underway.