In July 2018, a “stump dump” in Bella Vista caught fire and burned for almost a year. Residents in a half-mile radius around the dump site suffered
property damage, emotional harm and possibly injury to their physical health. A couple of months ago, the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality recognized the Bella Vista Property Owners Association as one of the most responsible for the disaster and ordered the organization to put out the fire. The POA did a magnificent job of getting that done at the tune of about $4 million of our membership money.
I mentioned this bit of history to preface the following proposal. The Bentonville School Board has always used as the reason to not build another
school building in Bella Vista a lack of a suitable building site. Well, we very soon will have one. In about six or seven months, there are many lawsuits that will be coming to fruition requiring millions of dollars to settle the complaints for damages caused by the stump dump fire.
The POA is now flat broke. The only way the lawsuits can be paid for is by selling assets. Bella Vista doesn’t need seven golf courses. Perhaps the Bentonville School district could offer to buy at least enough of one of those courses to build another elementary school. Bella Vista has over 3,000 students and some of those students have to get on a school bus about 6:15 each morning and they don’t get back home until after 4:00 p.m. That’s too much wasted education time bopping up and down in a bus. Any plan to reduce the traffic situation in Bentonville is a good plan.
Perhaps making an offer to purchase Riordan Hall would even be a better idea. There is enough land there to build another elementary school building
for grades K through 4. Cooper Elementary houses only about half of our students of that age. I’m not an architect, but it looks like Riordan Hall could
easily be converted to a gymnasium with classrooms and dressing rooms surrounding the gym. There is a stage at one end and a fully equipped exercise weight room across the hall. Adequate parking space already exists as well as an outdoor swimming pool and tennis complex.
Bottom line: Offer to buy land from the Bella Vista POA and build an elementary school on it.