UA Cossatot Holds Grand Opening for Renovations at Former Lockesburg Middle Campus

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LOCKESBURG, Ark. (KSLA) – The first phase of a historic restoration project in Sevier County, Ark., is now complete, and community leaders in Lockesburg say they like what they’re seeing.

Cossatot Community College at the University of Arkansas has occupied the old college campus in Lockesburg, Arkansas for nearly 10 years now. College leaders continue to bring the historic building to life.

“We wanted to preserve Lockesburg’s history,” said Dr. Steve Cole, Chancellor of UA Cossatot Community College.

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

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

The museum features upper class photos dating back to 1947, as well as other artifacts detailing the rich past of this former Sevier County schoolhouse.

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

“It’s just the most wonderful thing for the school in Lockesburg, for history, for the city of Lockesburg, it’s the most wonderful thing that could happen after we close,” Owens said.

Officials say they are not done making improvements to the building. According to Dr. Cole, they have started another project, costing over $330,000, which could be completed in 2023.

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

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