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story.lead_photo.caption Rendering of the new Arkansas Middle School. (Submitted artwork)

Texarkana, Ark. School District 's Board of Directors approved a guaranteed maximum price of $25,792,500 for the new Arkansas Middle School during a special meeting Wednesday.

The price, which is lower than the $29,955,000 GMP the board tabled during a special meeting in June, is from Clark Contractors. The board contracted with Clark for construction management services in January.

"It looks like we're ready to get to work," Board President Glen Spears said. "I want to say a special thank you to Clark Contractors. We came in under budget on the project and the money that will be utilized for this project is through no new taxes. There was no tax increase to our community to build this building. I hope everybody appreciates that as much as the rest of us do. Thank you very much for your hard work."

Funds for the new school come from a $20 million bond restructure voters approved in October 2017. It is scheduled to open in January 2021. The plans include four wings, each with their own administrator and workroom. Each wing can also be locked down for security purposes.

The school will be built on 31.743 tract of land north of Interstate 30 between Jefferson Ave. and Crossroads Parkway.

TASD Superintendent Dr. Becky Kesler said they will hold a groundbreaking in the next month or so and that it will coincide with the beginning of the 2019-20 school year.

"We're excited to get started," she said.

Clearing of the property is expected to begin July 22.

Danny Bennett, partner and executive vice president of Clark Contractors, said they would be setting up a webcam and time-lapse project so progress on the building can be seen in real-time.

"When that's complete, it takes a photograph every 15 minutes and you can play a rapid time-lapse of the construction of the facilities," he said.

Bennett also thanked the board and said he was excited to begin the project.

"People who know me know I've been doing this a long time and I have a particular fondness for those projects that make a difference in the lives of the future like education, health care and worship facilities," he said. "These are the kind of projects that are appealing to me personally, so we're excited to get started."

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