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The Little Rock School District's appeal to have its new Southwest High School moved up to Class 7A was approved Tuesday on the first day of the Arkansas Activities Association Summer Workshop at the Holiday Inn Airport Conference Center in Little Rock.

The new high school will compete in Class 7A in football and Class 6A in other sports beginning in 2020-21.

With Southwest High School moving up, Jonesboro will return to Class 6A for football and Class 5A for other sports. Jonesboro becomes the largest football school in Class 6A with 1,362.67 students.

Southwest High School will open in the summer of 2020, bringing in students from Little Rock McClellan, Little Rock Fair and Little Rock Hall high schools. The new high school, whose mascot is the Gryphons, will be the largest school in the Little Rock School District. It will replace McClellan and Fair, while Hall will remain open.

The new school is accessible by taking Exit 130 off Interstate 30. It is on 55 acres at Mabelvale Pike and Richsmith Lane, behind the Home Depot store at 11 Mabelvale Plaza Drive.

For the 2020-2022 classification cycle, Southwest High School was listed with 1,235.33 students.

However, Little Rock School District Superintendent Michael Poore contacted the AAA and mentioned that Southwest High School will receive about 300 students that are currently attending Hall as part of the English as a second language, or ESL, program and live in the Southwest district.

The addition of Hall's ESL students puts Southwest High School as the 14th largest school in Class 7A at 1,535.33 students, ahead of Bentonville West (1,410.33 students) and private school Little Rock Catholic (961.67).

"A lot of people try to underplay the number," Poore said. "We're trying to be representative of all the facts and be straight with you."

Hall was listed with 831 students in the May enrollment numbers. But Poore said that with losing the ESL students to the new high school, the school will see a drop in enrollment, but it will remain in Class 5A after dropping from Class 6A.

In other business Tuesday, the AAA approved session scheduling for the state basketball finals at Bank OZK Arena in Hot Springs.

Beginning with the 2020 finals schedule, Classes 1A and 2A will play on the first day (Thursday) of the finals. Classes 3A and 4A meet on the second day (Friday), and Classes 5A and 6A take place on the third day Saturday. Ticket sales and plans will be determined at a later date.

The 2019 state finals saw 12 state championship games, with six boys and six girls games being held from March 7-9. There were three games held March 7, four March 8 and five March 9.

Craig Durmon, sales manager at the Hot Springs Convention Center, said that cleaning the locker rooms and arena between games and expected additional security measures in future years were two of the main reasons to suggest sessions for the state finals.

In the second day of the workshop today, the AAA is expected to release its conference assignments for football for the 2020 and 2021 seasons and will hear proposals from activity districts from around the state. Also, Arkansas Wrestling Academy founder Greg Hatcher will make a presentation on having girls wrestling in the state.

Sports on 06/05/2019

Print Headline: New school winds up in Class 7A

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