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Ballman Elementary School Kicks-Off Back to School at Fairview Elementary

Fort Smith, Arkansas - August 7, 2023. Ballman Elementary Students will start their new school year at Fairview Elementary next week due to a delay in construction at Ballman.  

Plans to relocate approximately 245 Kindergarten through 5th grade students and 50 staff members from Ballman Elementary (2601 S Q St, Fort Smith, AR)  to the Fairview Elementary (2400 S. Dallas St, Fort Smith, AR) campus are underway. District team members are working overtime to communicate the new plan with families and ensure the Fairview facility is 100% ready for Ballman's students and staff. Additionally, Pre-K students attending Ballman this year will now be relocated to Tilles Elementary (815 N. 16th St.).

Transportation arrangements from Ballman to Fairview have been carefully planned to minimize disruption.

  • Parents who usually drive to Ballman Elementary should now plan to drop off and pick up their child at Fairview Elementary. 

  • Ballman students who walk or ride the bus to Ballman will now be bussed to Fairview; students will gather in front of the Ballman storm shelter to catch the bus.  

  • Fairview Elementary has devised a comprehensive traffic flow system for drop-offs and pick-ups, supplemented by safety patrol teams and school resource officer assistance. 

  • Parents typically taking their Pre-K child to Ballman will now need to transport them to Tilles Elementary. Please note the district does not provide Pre-K bus transportation. 

Parents who pick up a child at Ramsey and Fairview are strongly encouraged first to pick up their child at Ramsey rather to avoid making left-hand turns off of the adjacent Fairview campus. 

All drivers in the area (along Dallas Street between Jenny Lind Road and Country Club Avenue) are urged to exercise caution and adhere to reduced speed limits for what is anticipated to be a congested area.  

Ballman and Fairview staff members will continue providing instruction and support to their respective students (in separate classrooms). However, Ballman and Fairview students will be able to socialize with one another in the cafeteria and on the playground. 

Office phone lines will be redirected to Fairview Elementary, ensuring uninterrupted communication for parents and stakeholders. On Monday evening, August 7, 2023, (from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM), the district and school administration hosted a "Splash into Kindergarten" event at Parrot Island, where administration will be available to answer questions parents may have. Additionally, school administrators will be in attendance at their Back-to-School “Meet and Greet” events. Parents may also visit www.fortsmithschools.org, or contact administration via their school phone and email.  

Superintendent Dr. Terry Morawski said, “As we make the needed improvements at Ballman, we applaud our teachers for their flexibility during this challenging time. The district remains committed to ensuring that our teachers have what they need to provide the highest quality education for our students.” 

About the Ballman Elementary Construction Project

The construction work at Ballman Elementary School began in April 2023, with a completion date slated for August 15, 2023.  Shawn Shaffer, FSPS Executive Director for Facilities and Operations, estimates the project could take up to three months before Ballman students can return to their campus. Shaffer explained the ongoing work on installing a new HVAC system caused the construction delay.  “Despite the construction manager’s efforts to complete the work before the start of the school year, the completion timeline had to be extended due to the finalization of ductwork and the evaluation testing associated with the new equipment. We understand the inconveniences this delay causes and we sincerely appreciate the understanding and cooperation of our students, parents, and staff."

The new HVAC system will improve the indoor air quality at Ballman, creating a healthier learning environment for students. The $2,550,000 project impacts approximately 60,000 square feet of classroom space at Ballman and helps the district meet its Continuous Improvement Plan goals of providing students and staff with safe and welcoming environments.