The University of Arkansas at Little Rock and eStem High School have reached a lease agreement that provides eStem with an alternative space for its high school students to dine and relax instead of in the Donaghey Student Center.
The agreement gives eStem use of the south end of the second floor of Ross Hall, which is close to the public charter high school. The space excludes the interior lobby and balcony area that separates the south and north wings of the building, with the exception for emergency exit purposes.
“This new plan gives UA Little Rock students full use of the Donaghey Student Center,” Chancellor Andrew Rogerson said. “Potential students and their families considering UA Little Rock need to know that we are doing everything possible to provide an affordable and quality learning environment for our students.”
On June 11, Rogerson announced to faculty, staff, and students improvements now in the works for the DSC. Upgrades include adding multipurpose spaces and recreational spaces with e-gaming opportunities, movies, and pool tables for students. Also, Rogerson announced the addition of a new Starbucks to open on campus in spring 2020. The coffee shop will be located in the quad on the back side of the Old Student Union A building with patio seating facing Cooper Fountain.
The lease with eStem was signed May 31 by Donald Bobbitt, president of the University of Arkansas System, acting on behalf of UA Little Rock, and John Bacon, chief executive officer of eStem Public Charter Schools, Inc. Under the terms, the charter school will pay $7,500 monthly ($90,000 annually) to rent the Ross Hall space. The new lease took effect June 1.
The 4,385-square-foot space will serve as the dining area for eStem’s students who have been using the Donaghey Student Center for dining since the high school opened in fall 2017. The charter school will be responsible for securing its own food service vendor.
Some alterations will be made to Ross Hall – mainly construction of a wall to separate the spaces used by eStem students on the south wing from the north wing of Ross Hall, which will continue to be used by UA Little Rock. Costs for alterations will be paid by eStem.
The lease also specifies that eStem will monitor student behavior and noise levels in Ross Hall. The new agreement is intended to eliminate congestion in the Donaghey Student Center where some college students, faculty, and staff had complained of noise and overcrowding.