The University of Arkansas Board of Trustees followed by the Arkansas Board of Higher Education have approved UALR’s request for a $30 million bond issue that will generate funding for two capital projects over the next three years.
The projects include a new $23 million student honors housing complex and a $4 million outdoor recreation and sports complex. The residential building will provide housing for approximately 400 students and dining hall for all residentials. The recreational and sports complex will include outdoor track, field, and soccer facilities, parking, dressing rooms, and concessions.
Chancellor Joel E. Anderson said that on-campus housing has been very popular with students. “For the last three years we have had full residence halls with waiting lists, and this fall we have a record enrollment,” he said. “Residence halls make UALR’s outstanding academic programs accessible to more students, and the presence of more resident students enriches campus life for all students.”
The new housing facility will be located in the housing complex on the east side of campus.
Anderson said the sports complex will enhance the university’s intramural and intercollegiate programs. He expects that the sports complex, a long-standing campus need, will also be used for a number of community and high school competitions. The complex will be located on the southside of Asher Avenue on property formerly occupied by a drive-in theater. Owners of the property donated the land to UALR about 10 years ago.
Anderson gave credit for the bond initiatives to the UALR Board of Visitors. During its May meeting, the Board strongly encouraged the campus to take advantage of a rare opportunity to address some long-term capital needs identified in the strategic plan.
“The rare opportunity was created by the extremely low interest rates for long-term debt due to the national recession, the paying off of existing bonds, and the institution’s solid financial condition,” he said.
Final approval for the bond issue must come from the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board which meets at 10 a.m. Friday at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith.
Last month, UA Trustees approved another a $34 million bond issue for UALR to construct a Nanotechnology Sciences Center; to complete the Donaghey Engineering and Information Technology building; to build a Student Services One-Stop Center; to convert an administration building into a Health and Wellness building; for elevator safety upgrades; and to match private funds to renovate the Stella Boyle Smith Concert Hall.