Garland/HAPS renovations near completion
Ken McLemore, Hope Public Schools

HOPE – Students enrolled in the Hope Academy of Public Service in the fall will begin classes in a newly-renovated historic education complex in Hope.

The historic Augustus H. Garland School campus, the home of the new Hope academy for grades five through eight beginning in August, has undergone extensive renovations in preparation for the opening of HAPS, according to Hope Schools Superintendent Bobby Hart.

“The building was constructed in 1948, and it is in good condition,” Hart said during a tour of the facility by a parent advisory committee for the new academy.

He emphasized the historic nature of the building, and its connection with the Hope Schools.

“The footprint of the building is the same as the former Edith Brown building,” Hart said.

That facility is no longer in use, but its central design offers parents of students at HAPS an understanding of the functionality with which the Garland building was constructed.

“It’s a good building; the foundation is solid; and, there are already things in place that can be readily used,” he said.

The building has 10 classrooms and one large activity room, all of which have been renovated to accommodate the building’s new purpose. Restrooms have been completely reworked, as well, Hart said.

The campus grounds are also the home of the ABC Preschool, which Hart anticipates will ultimately move to the Clinton Primary School campus. The two programs will share common lunchroom facilities.

Signage at the entrance to the building now designates it as the campus of the new academy; and, Hart said plans call for the installation of interior signage as well as entryway exhibit space for student college choices and work.

“It’s all about the kids,” Hart told the parent committee during the tour. “This is going to happen; we are off the ground.”

He said faculty is expected to be in place by June 1; and, Dr. Carol Ann Duke, a career educator and former education expert for the Southern Regional Education Board, began duties as campus principal May 2.

“I am thrilled that we have kept the original, gorgeous wooden doors on all the classrooms,” Dr. Duke said. “They are truly guardians of the past and passageways to the future for the HAPS family of students, parents, staff and community.”

She said uses of other unique aspects of the facility remain to be determined.

“We are in discussions about how best to use the multi-use/library space as an innovative educational and creative space,” Duke said. “It will become the hub of so much of what we do at HAPS regarding project based learning and harnessing the imagination of students as they develop their college and career goals.”

HAPS is designed to serve a student body of up to 200 students in a rigorous academic setting based upon mutually recognized high expectations for students, parents and the school. Students will prepare to become college-ready by the 10th grade, and will follow a personalized academic plan for their studies in a collaborative, innovative and enriched classroom setting.

Hart has said the HAPS program will also partner with the William J. Clinton School of Public Service in Little Rock and the University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana for enrichment and project-based activities and studies.