TEXARKANA, Ark. -- The University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana broke ground on a new $3.85 million building at the Texarkana campus Thursday afternoon.
"This new facility will allow us to prepare the workforce to retain current employers and to help attract new employers to improve the economic vitality of the region," said Dr. Christine Holt, UA Hope-Texarkana chancellor.
"But the building itself is just that. It's bricks and mortar. It's really about the people. The dedicated faculty and staff, our resilient students -- as we've seen over the last 18 months in this COVID environment, generous donors and community supporters like all of you are the true pride point in what will make a long standing impact on the community."
Dr. Donald Bobbitt, University of Arkansas System president, said the groundbreaking ceremony was another example of the "can-do" attitude that he senses when he visits the area.
"This institution would not be the institution we're all so proud of if it were not for the tremendous support of these two communities," he said.
"It's really exciting to consider the educational opportunities that will exist for students who gain a competitive technological advantage in this building, and are able to directly leave and enter the workforce. In doing so, they will ensure their family's economic future, as well as the economic future of this area."
The new 14,754-square-foot building will house a welding program, the Secondary Career and Technical Education Center, the Arkansas High Collegiate Academy and more.
A significant portion of the new facility will be dedicated to career and technical programs, including the UAHT Secondary Career and Technical Education Center. The career center provides participating high school juniors and seniors with the opportunity to earn college credit at no charge while still in high school.
The curriculum serves as an extension of the high school curriculum by providing students with hands-on experiences in various career fields, including industrial maintenance, welding, coding, CNA and EMT.
"The state-of-the-art welding facility will be a great addition to those who need those kinds of services, and we can all agree it's lacking right now," Dalby said. "We need the skilled tradesman to make our economy go. So, we're very grateful for the opportunity to have this here."
Along with the career center, the new facility will house the Arkansas High School Collegiate Academy. The academy is a partnership with Arkansas High School that allows students an opportunity to earn a high school diploma and an associate degree simultaneously.
The program consists of high school sophomores, juniors and seniors enrolled in dual-credit courses on the U of A Texarkana campus. The first Arkansas High Collegiate Academy class graduated last year and these students received their high school diploma and associate degree 100% debt-free.
This year the academy has its largest group of sophomores since the program began in 2019.
The new building will be located at 3501 U of A Way, Texarkana, Arkansas. The expected completion is in 2023.
Other speakers at the ceremony included: Freddie Smith, chairman, UA Hope-Texarkana Board of Visitors; Carol Dalby, Arkansas House of Representatives; Allen Brown, Texarkana, Arkansas mayor; and Ethan Miller, student, UA Texarkana Collegiate Academy.