Leaders at eStem had Larson Hall renovated and expanded for use beginning in the 2017-2018 school year. They also plan to add high school classrooms at a nearby existing building, Ross Hall, for the 2021-22 school year. The collaboration cleared the way for eStem, a tuition-free public charter school that operates on an enrollment lottery system, to add students. Leaders at the public charter school expect the high school’s enrollment to grow to 1,125 students at the UA Little Rock location by the 2026-27 school year. The renovated and expanded Larson Hall facility is about 50,000 square feet and includes 31 classrooms, three chemistry labs, two physical science labs and two computer labs.
Project Financing & Timeline
A $11.4 million no-interest loan from the Walton Family Foundation financed the eStem renovation and construction project. The project was subject to UA Little Rock’s review to “assure architectural compatibility with the university campus.” Under the terms of a 30-year lease, eStem will pay UA Little Rock $1 annually. Scheduled completion was August 4, 2017, and classes began in the building August 14, 2017.
- Building Contractor: ECO Construction
- Architectural Firm: WER Architects/Planners
- Engineering Firms: Bernhard TME & Development Consultants