Thaden house returns to downtown Bentonville

Posted: February 3, 2018 at 1:09 a.m.

NWA Democrat-Gazette/SPENCER TIREY Owen Lauzon (left) and Hayden Thompson, along with other students at the Thaden School, paint a mural panel Friday that will be displayed at the Bentonville school. The students where working to replicate a painting by fellow student Chris Broadus by painting it in sections that would make up the mural.
Zoom

NWA Democrat-Gazette/SPENCER TIREY Owen Lauzon (left) and Hayden Thompson, along with other students at the Thaden School, paint a mural panel Friday that will be displayed at the Bentonville school. The students where working to replicate a painting by fellow student Chris Broadus by painting it in sections that would make up the mural.

BENTONVILLE -- Louise Thaden's childhood home has been moved and is being reconstructed on the Thaden School campus.

The house was dismantled and moved in 2016 from its original location on West Central Avenue to Benton County land, where the pieces were stored until the school's campus was ready for the house.

School site

The land on which the Thaden School is being built is the former home of the Benton County Fairgrounds, but it also was the site of Bentonville High School in the 1920s, when Louise Thaden was a student there.

Source: Staff report

The pieces were delivered to the campus last weekend. The house is being assembled near the corner of Southeast Eighth and Southeast C streets, part of a block of land being developed for the school.

Once the initial process of situating the house on new footings is complete, the school's design and construction team will determine the building's structural needs and refine the restoration plan accordingly, said Clayton Marsh, head of school.

"This is just the first phase, getting it onto a foundation. Then the more detailed work will flow from there," Marsh said.

The project is expected to take several months to complete.

The house belonged to the Thaden family from 1919 to 1945. Thaden, an accomplished aviatrix of the 1920s and 1930s, moved into the house when she was 14.

The private, independent Thaden School is nearly six months into its first year, with 49 students in grades seven and nine. It will grow next school year to encompass grades seven through 10.

The school spent its first several weeks at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art before moving into an arrangement of portable buildings on Southeast C Street.

"Really on every level, things have gone quite well," Marsh said. "The space is working well for us. We've settled into our new home and feel very comfortable here."

Across the street from the portable buildings is where construction of the main campus is happening, on what was formerly the Benton County Fairgrounds. The first two buildings are scheduled for completion in early 2019. Portable buildings will be removed as the permanent buildings become available.

Thaden students spent time outdoors Friday in frigid temperatures painting eight 4-by-4 canvases that will be assembled into a mural and attached to the side of one of the portable buildings. The mural depicts an owl flying at dusk in what appears to be a rural setting.

Students have chosen "Barn Stormers" as the school's nickname, with the owl serving as the mascot.

Chris Broadus, a Thaden ninth-grader, came up with the design, which was chosen for the project in a vote by his peers.

"I feel since it was chosen, all my hard work kind of paid off. It paid off. It just feels very satisfying to be chosen," said Chris, 15.

The student-led art project involved more than just coming up with a design and painting it. Students also were responsible for everything from making a budget to the logistics of hanging the artwork, said Sarah Mattingly-Benson, art teacher.

"All the things that go into creating a public art project are involved in this," Mattingly-Benson said.

Dallin Jones, 15, was the project manager.

"It takes a lot of work and a lot of planning and organization to make it actually happen in the end," Dallin said. "There was a lot of communication we had to do with the faculty and other students and amongst ourselves to get it done."

The school is in the midst of its second admissions cycle and is seeing "high levels of interest," Marsh said. Families pay a maximum of $24,800 per year for tuition, though the school offers an indexed tuition program that takes into account how much a family can afford.

The school also is seeking to fill seven additional positions for next school year.

"We've received, at last count, well over 600 applications for the various positions posted on our website," Marsh said. "We are seeing applicants from all over the country, all over the world."

NW News on 02/03/2018