Arkadelphia school board lists new price for Central Primary building

The Central Primary School building has sat vacant for a number of years since the Arkadelphia Public School District shifted facilities. | Joel Phelps/

A century-old school building in Arkadelphia, Central Primary School has been on the market for several years, and it now has a new price


This post has been updated to include the original listing for the property

The Arkadelphia Board of Education on Tuesday agreed to renew its agreement with Crye-Leike Pro Elite Realty to market the former Central Primary School building on Pine Street.

State law requires school districts to sell a property at 95% of its fair market value determined by an appraisal.

“Right now there’s no other viable option other than to sell it.”

— Arkadelphia Superintendent Nikki Thomas

Superintendent Nikki Thomas said the new listing price of $575,000 fits within the allowable range. The price also factors in some demolition costs, she said. Should the school district find another way to dispose of the property “or do something different”, the realtor would be owed a $5,000 fee to relieve the district from the contract, Thomas said. That fee would still apply in the event the district donates the property to another educational institution, although so far there have been no takers. Board president Blake Bell said the district has done its “due diligence” to ensure no charter school is interested in the property.

The Central property was originally listed for $690,000.

“I think we need to get it back on the market,” Thomas added, “because right now there’s no other viable option other than to sell it.”

To date the district has received two offers on the property, but declined both because neither fit within the price range allowed under state law, Bell told after the meeting.

The board agreed to authorize Thomas and Bell to negotiate or accept any offers within the allowable range.

Bell said the current legislation, which keeps government entities from selling real estate at reduced prices, is why dilapidated school buildings sit in small Arkansas towns like Arkadelphia. State lawmakers like Sen. Steve Crowell, he added, aim to amend the existing law to loosen the restrictions.

In other business, the board:

• Revised the district’s policy on fixed assets dollar amounts. The current policy of $1,000 apparently didn’t align with a 2001 memo administrators recently found that listed the threshold at $2,500. The policy had been a template provided by the Arkansas School Board Association, but the board never changed the dollar amount to reflect the 2001 memo, Thomas said.

• Expelled a high school student for one calendar year. The student brought a weapon on campus. The district will provide virtual educational services. The student’s parents did not request a hearing.

Safety at Arkadelphia High School

According to a safety report included in Tuesday’s agenda packet, AHS has been checking every student, every day through metal detector and follow-up searches if flagged by the detector. Since the student brought a gun on campus, the metal detector line has slowed the process for students getting to their first-period class. 

“The process is improving daily as students become more aware of what needs to be taken out of their bags and pockets before passing through the detectors,” the report states. “Law enforcement has also been helpful in helping us become more efficient in the process.”

The district is in the process of getting estimates for an additional metal detector to expedite the process and to enhance security at basketball games. Other equipment being sought includes door prop alarms and environmental sensors for restrooms. Those sensors would detect smoke, vape and even noise, Thomas said.

The district uses the Standard Response Protocol for emergency response, and students and staff are trained annually on those protocols.

Personnel report

Following a brief executive session, the school board reconvened in public and approved the following personnel recommendations:


Davida Williams, from paraprofessional to dyslexia interventionist, Perritt


Brian Gibson, to dean of students/coach, Goza, for spring semester only