UA Cossatot holds grand opening for renovations at old Lockesburg Middle campus

Published: Sep. 15, 2022 at 7:11 PM CDT
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LOCKESBURG, Ark. (KSLA) - The first phase of a historical restoration project in Sevier County, Ark., is now complete, and community leaders in Lockesburg say they like what they see.

The University of Arkansas Cossatot Community College has occupied the campus of the old middle school in Lockesburg, Ark., for nearly 10 years now. College leaders continue to pump life into the historical building.

“We wanted to preserve the history of Lockesburg,” said Dr. Steve Cole, chancellor of UA Cossatot Community College.

On Thursday, Sept. 15, the college held a grand opening to see the newly renovated Lockesburg Middle School building. The renovations were made possible by a $325,000 Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council grant. The renovation includes the Blue Darter Museum, a community room and six classrooms.

“We are going to have classes here, we are going to have a nurses simulation lab here and we are going to have an ambulance simulation, all in this building. As a community college, we just try to give back,” Dr. Cole said.

Displayed in the museum are senior class pictures dating back to 1947, along with other items detailing the rich past of this former Sevier County school.

“I passed by there every day and say, ‘Thank you Lord for that college there,’” said Velma Owens, who was the superintendent of Lockesburg Schools when the district was closed in 2006. Owens also was a student there, having graduated in 1958.

“It’s just the most wonderful thing for the school of Lockesburg, for the history, for the Town of Lockesburg, it’s the wonderful thing that could happen after we were closed down,” Owens said.

Officials say they’re not done making improvements to the building though. According to Dr. Cole, they have begun another project, costing more than $330,000, that may be complete in 2023.

“These’re not memorials, these are buildings we have put in use and we want people to use them,” Dr. Cole said.