Haas Hall set to open Fort Smith campus with 125-150 students

by Tina Alvey Dale ([email protected]) 2,501 views 

Haas Hall Academy will open the newest high school Aug. 10 on the fourth floor of the Arkansas Colleges of Health Education (ACHE) Research Institute Health and Wellness Center in Fort Smith with around 125-150 students.

The open-enrollment tuition-free charter school made a $3 million initial investment in its fifth campus in the state. The investment includes facility design, renovation, equipment and technology in the approximate 29,000-square-feet of space, said James Kimbrough, Haas executive vice president.

The location, in what was the former Golden Living/Beverly Enterprise Headquarters, located at 1000 Fianna Way in Fort Smith, includes a private entrance, including school drop-off, pick-up and parking areas. The school will also have a secure entrance/exit, elevator and stairwells located on the east end of the building.

“I was just out there (last week), and it is looking great. Faculty orientation, etc., starts Tuesday (Aug. 1) and scholars report on August 10, for all five campuses,” Kimbrough said in a note.

The collaboration with ACHE will allow students to observe and participate in health and science related research projects, along with access to other holistic health and wellness amenities and offerings within the facility, a news release said.

Haas Hall has other campuses in Fayetteville, Bentonville, Rogers and Springdale. The four existing campuses were ranked No. 1-4 last year academically by the State Department of Education based on annual school accountability (ESSA) scores, and all  received letter grades of “A” along with only 8% of schools statewide at all levels, Kimbrough said.

Founded in 2004, Haas Hall is widely known for its advanced curriculum focused on preparing students 7-12 for college. The charter school’s mission statement notes that the school works to “provide an aggressive alternative to the traditional learning environment for scholars with high intensity of purpose seeking an aggressive, rigorous, college preparatory curriculum focusing in the engineering, technology, mathematics and science fields, enabling them to succeed at the nation’s prestigious universities and to become pillars of their communities.”

The Fort Smith campus will start with seventh through 11th grades for the 2023-24 school year with 12th grade added for the 2024-25 school year. Maximum capacity per charter is 500, Kimbrough said. For its first year, administrators expect the final enrollment to be between 125-150 students with those evenly distributed in seventh through ninth grade with 10th and 11th grades close behind, he said.

“We have found this to be typical at opening, as those closer to graduation often want to finish where they began,” Kimbrough said.

Applications were accepted through July 28, and Kimbrough said because there is always some minimal shift just prior to school starting, all applicants have a chance of acceptance, depending on where final numbers fall.