Return to Headlines

Fort Smith receives $1.4 million for FSPS Career Education

October 1 Update:
FSPS is very grateful for the investment of the Economic Development Administration grant in the Career and Technology Center (CTC). This critically important $1.4 million federal investment is matched by a portion of the overall $13.7 million in FSPS millage designated for the CTC to complete an initial and limited phase of this exciting project. Additional district investments are planned, and will be needed, for the CTC. High-tech equipment needs, for example, are extensive and outside of the scope of the EDA grant. These purchases will require use of additional funds.
In addition, the grant-funded portion of the CTC includes roughly 50,000 square feet. The building encompasses over 180,000 square feet. As a result, a second phase of work outside the scope of the grant is planned for completion at the same time as the EDA grant-funded project. This addtional work will be needed to add some finished space, complete other needed upgrades to the whole of the building, prepare surrounding grounds for student use, and lay the groundwork for growth into areas designated for future expansion.
There will be additional announcements in the near future about additonal outside funds that are being committeed to this project so that its scope, and its impact on the lives of our students, can be expanded in a cost-effective manner. 
We will continue to keep our stakeholders posted as this project progresses. Thank you for your continued support! 

U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), U.S. Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR), Congressman Steve Womack (AR-3) and Governor Asa Hutchinson (R-AR) today announced that Fort Smith will receive $1.4 million in federal grant funding from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA). The investment will support the development of the Fort Smith Public Schools career technology center (CTC), a state-of-the-art facility that will feature specialized lab spaces and classrooms for courses in advanced manufacturing, healthcare, and information technology.

“We are very grateful and excited to have been awarded this $1.4 million EDA grant for the development of a new career and technology center at the site generously donated by the William L. Hutcheson Trust at the corner of Zero and Painter Lane in Fort Smith,” said Dr. Doug Brubaker, Fort Smith Public Schools Superintendent. “This state-of-the-art facility will connect students with opportunities in advanced manufacturing, healthcare, and information technology careers with a focus on engaging instruction in the science, technology, education, art, and math (STEAM) disciplines. This will lead to the retention and expansion of employment opportunities in our state. We are grateful to Senator Boozman, Senator Cotton Congressman Womack, Governor Hutchinson and our partners across the River Valley who continue to support this initiative. We look forward to seeing this important project take shape.”

Over two years ago, FSPS opened a dialogue with the community about the future of education in Fort Smith and Barling. This process resulted in Vision 2023, a five-year strategic plan that includes seven areas of focus including Career Planning, Equity, Instruction, Learning Environments/Facilities, Staffing, Technology and Wellness.

The Vision 2023 Strategic Plan was approved by the Fort Smith Public Schools Board of Education in December 2017. 

One of the key components of Vision 2023 and the capital improvement plan developed to support it was the expansion of efforts to prepare students for high tech careers, including a new 50,000 square foot career and technology center with a focus on the fields of advanced manufacturing, information technology, and health care. 

In May 2018, the residents of Fort Smith and Barling approved a millage increase in order to fund this key project. 

Earlier this year, the Estate of William L. Hutcheson generously gifted a 182,000 square foot building to serve as a site for the expansion of Career and Technology Education and as a new center for advanced learning in the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) disciplines. 

Following all of these positive developments over the past two years, the Economic Development Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce has approved a $1.4 million grant for the career and technology center project. 

In addition to the Economic Development Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce,  our congressional delegation, and Governor Hutchinson, there are many people and organizations to thank for support as the District celebrates this accomplishment. 

    • Tim Allen and the Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce for continuing support, involvement with the grant application, and for hosting the announcement
    • Fort Smith Public Schools Board of Education
    • Western Arkansas Workforce Development Initiative Board of Advisors
    • Ashley Garris, Sasha Grist, Western Arkansas Planning and Development and Senator Mat Pitsch 
    • George Watts, HPM Project Management 
    • Fort Smith and Barling voters who approved the millage increase in May 2018
    • Fort Smith Regional Council of CEOs
    •  All who wrote letters of support including 
      • Col. Robert Kinney, 188th Fighter Wing of the U.S. Air Force
      • Jason Green, ABB 
      • Judy McReynolds, ArcBest 
      • Kyle Parker, Arkansas Colleges of Health Education
      • Tim Allen, FS Chamber of Commerce
      • Carl Geffken, City Administrator
      • John Kelleher, Gerdau
      • Larry Balch, Glatfelter
      • Steve Womack, Congressman
      • Ryan Gehrig, Mercy
      • Trent Goins, OK Foods
      • Amy Johnson, Rheem 
      • Mat Pitsch, Arkansas Senator
      • Adam Blalock, Umarex 
      • John Boozman, Senator
      • Ed Serna, University of Arkansas – Fort Smith 
      • John Miller, Walther Arms, Inc.
      • Greg Cornett, Walther Manufacturing, Inc. 
      • Mike Barr, WeatherBarr Windows & Doors
    • Dr. Terisa Riley and University of Arkansas - Fort Smith
    • Vision 2023 Strategic Planning Team and Strategic Action Teams
    • FSPS 2018 Citizens Committee
    • Friends of Fort Smith Public Schools
    • FSPS Career Education Programming Team
    • Vision 2023 Capital Improvement Program Advisory Committee
    • Vision 2023 Project Building Committees

 Watch for updates about this project and the Vision 2023 Capital Improvement Plan!