New high school taking shape
Big week for Maumelle Charter, Fernandomania and 30 years later, Amazon hiring thousands, plus news and sports headlines
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With three facilities to open in the coming year, Amazon, the online retail giant, is looking to hire thousands to work in North Little Rock and Little Rock.
Amazon has partnered with the city of North Little Rock for virtual job fairs this week and a drive-thru event next week.
Hiring will start in mid-May with jobs to start late summer to early fall.
The virtual job fairs are at 6 p.m. today, Thursday, and at 9:30 a.m. on Friday. To register for either, go to www.AmazonLR.com.
The drive-thru will be from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday at Dickey-Stephens Park parking lot at West Broadway and the Broadway Bridge in North Little Rock. The minimum hiring age is 18 and applicants will need to have either a high school diploma or equivalent.
Maumelle Charter has 16 sign academic scholarships. The students are: Fallon Baty, Callie Bures, Ethan Christmas, Sydney Conway, Raine Fosburgh, Luke Garrison, Rebecca Hanry , Colin Hornaday, Brandon Kraus, Jie Loken, Abbey Mahony, Jacob Martin, Blake Mesaris, Natalie Peterson, Jaya Salgaonkar and Jacob Strawn
White Oak Crossing is still very much a new road, but it has become one of the most popular addresses in Maumelle as developers look there first for what’s next.
The biggest, and most notable, what’s next is the $32 million new home for Maumelle Charter High School as construction began last fall and work is steadily progressing with a target opening date of August 2022 for students, said Rob McGill, the Chief Executive Officer of the school system, in a letter to parents and posted to the school’s website.
McGill said construction would be “complete” by May 31, 2022 and summer would be used to move furniture and get the space ready for students. It would mean sophomores at the school now, would be the first graduating class in the 2022-23 academic year.
What those students will be getting is impressive.
The school’s campus will set on an expansive 38 acres with a total of 32 classrooms, two science labs, a cafeteria, an auditorium that will seat 831 people, a gym that will accommodate 1,802, along with a weight room, among other features and, on the outside, an artificial turf soccer field that will be encircled by an eight-lane track.
McGill said that none of the school system’s buildings will be closed when the new building opens in 2022.
The current high school will become a middle school and serve grades 4 through 7 and the new high school will serve 8th grade though Senior year, while the current elementary will be kindergarten through 3rd grade.
The new space will also allow for growth. Current enrollment for all grades is 1,400 students, but that number will increase by 100 students with an all-grade enrollment of 2,000 students by the 2026-27 academic year.
The new high school will have a familiar look as it was designed by Lewis Architects Engineers in Little Rock and that is the same firm that designed the current Maumelle Charter Elementary School on Edgewood Drive. Conway’s Nabholz is handling the construction of the new school.
About 200 students at the school now are sophomores, juniors and seniors and Maumelle Charter competes in the 2A classification in the Arkansas Activities Association. The student growth would push the Falcons into at least the 3A classification, or the same classification at Central Arkansas Christian and, eventually, into 4A, which is where Maumelle High School competed when the school opened up 10 years ago.
Was it really 30 years ago?
It seems almost impossible to get the head wrapped around the fact that on June 1, 1991 Fernando Valenzuela pitched against the Arkansas Travelers at Ray Winder Field and I was among the 12,246 people jammed into the stands, and on the field.
Me, my brother Josh and our mutual friend J.J. made the two-hour trip from Ozark to the game and we got there early. Really early. Hours ahead of the start time and were able to snag seats along the third-base line and in the metal bleachers that were hot to the touch as they baked in the sun.
Others weren’t so lucky to get seats, as the outfield’s warning track was roped off and turned into standing-room only seating to accommodate the crush of people, that was a record then and still the largest crowd to watch the Travs play.
The draw was Valenzuela, who, 10 years earlier, became the first pitcher to win the Cy Young Award and be Rookie of the Year for the Los Angeles Dodgers and after a decade there, signed with the Angels and was sent to the minors to work on a bum shoulder.
It is hard to say how many games I have attended in my life either as a fan, or brother or uncle or as a paid observer dispatched by a media outlet. If I had to hazard a guess, it would be in the thousands. There’s been times, when I might have made a 1,000 games in a year, such is the life of a professional sportswriter.
Even in this pandemic of a year where attendance at sporting events has been limited, I’ve still managed to make a few and all those venues from coast-to-coast and at all levels from the highest of professional sports to youth league baseball. That game, that Fernando game still stands out.
I’ve never been to a game quite like it. The buzz, the energy of the crowd, just the atmosphere. There’s something about sports that when everything comes together and it becomes almost magical. That’s true of any live performance whether it is a concert or a play or whatever. It just takes you in and doesn’t let you go.
Such is the lure and I miss it desperately. So mask up and get vaccinated, so going to the game becomes normal again.
The Los Angeles Times is doing a rather terrific video series on Fernandomania and 40 years later. It can be viewed on that paper’s website here or at the paper’s YouTube channel here. There’s two videos so far and they’re must watch and extremely compelling.
Neal Moore is taking the week off.