At a meeting between city officials and school administration regarding Conway School District’s plans for 2012, Mayor Tab Townsell agreed to support the district in their construction and restructuring processes.

“I personally support the plan for 2012. It’s a great opportunity for the Conway Public School District. We are going to supply access roads for the schools, sidewalks and bike lanes. We recognize that it will be our responsibility as they move forward, and if they are successful in their plan to provide good, safe access for them,” Townsell said.

The city will work with the district on traffic flow at the Conway High School-West campus by possibly eliminating the traffic light at Prince Street and Farris Road, as the road is expanded.
“We may see the need to eliminate the traffic light at the Baker house area by the Presbyterian Church,” Townsell said. “Discussions are still preliminary.”
The Conway School District has five different plans culminating in 2012, some of which will require a millage increase of 1.9 mills to be approved by voters in September:
The reconstruction of CHS-W campus, the reconfiguration of the grade structure, the repurposing of Sallie Cone Elementary, the rezoning of school attendance and the raising of a new elementary school.

“What we have here is preliminary but final enough that we are making it public,” Murry said.
A public meeting between school patrons, administration and the Conway School Board of Education will take place in the end of May, Murry said.

Carol Bishop, CSD assistant superintendent said the district would soon be asking for the city’s assistance in water flow issues located at the back of the CHS-W campus.
“Conway Corporation has been good to us and we hope they will help us make things right with our utilities,” Bishop said.

“Some utility units, we’d also like to move under ground, and we’ll look for your help then as well,” Murry said.

Murry talked with members of the Board and city officials about the administration’s reasoning in reconstructing the CHS-W campus rather than building an additional high school.

“The numbers don’t dictate a second school yet,” Murry said. 

Murry said he has seen a situation where a second high school was built and comparisons were made between the old and new schools in unfavorable ways.

“People wanted to go to the new high school and not the old one. We should not build artificial reasons to divide our community,” Murry said.

When a second high school becomes a necessity, the district has purchased 63 acres on Madison Road, but Murry does not expect the need for a second school for at least 10 years.

The reconfiguration of the grade structure, Murry believes, is the avoidance of unnecessary school transitions. The new structure would have students divided into schools with grades kindergarten-4, 5-7, 8 and 9, and a high school with grades 10-12.

“A seventh grader is more like a sixth-grader than an eighth-grader. Why not leave them in middle school a little longer,” Murry said.

Murry said students are more likely to mimic the behavior of their older schoolmates than the younger, in the pivotal years of middle school, which he believes are the most difficult.

“Ray and Phyllis Simon, Ruth Doyle, Bob Courtway and Carl Stuart would all transition to middle schools,” Murry said. “Some building modifications at the two intermediate schools would be required.”

For more information on aspects of Conway School District’s plans for 2012, visit the school’s Web site at www.conwayschools.org.

(Staff writer Courtney Spradlin can be reached by e-mail at courtney.spradlin@thecabin.net or by phone at 505-1236. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)