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Fort Smith School District actions result in added costs, delays with Peak Innovation Center

The delays, often because of decisions by district officials, resulted in at least $1.6 million in added costs.
Credit: Nayely Palafox

FORT SMITH, Ark. — Fort Smith Public School District officials were less than open – especially to the public – about causes of delays in opening the district’s Peak Innovation Center. The delays, often because of decisions by district officials, resulted in at least $1.6 million in added costs, according to info obtained by Talk Business & Politics.

The center, opened March 28, was initially set to open by August 21. The regional workforce training facility was constructed from a donated facility at the intersection of Zero Street and Painter Lane in east Fort Smith. In February 2019, the estate of William Hutcheson Jr. donated the former Hutcheson shoe manufacturing building at 5900 Painter Lane to be the Peak site. The 181,710-square-foot building that sits on almost 17 acres at the corner of Zero Street and Painter Lane was projected to save at least $3 million that had been budgeted to buy an existing building for the career center.

FSPS received numerous gifts and grants for the center. Fort Smith’s ABB, NEMA Motors Division contributed $1 million to the project. ArcBest donated $1 million. Baptist Health-Fort Smith and Mercy Fort Smith invested $1 million – $500,000 each – in healthcare science programming at the center. 

To read more about this story please visit our content partner, Talk Business & Politics

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