The physical transformation of the ASMSA campus began earlier this decade with the construction of the Student Center. As the program celebrated twenty years of success, the institution finally had a residential space to match the quality of the academic experience at ASMSA.
With completion of that project, our community of learning now turns its attention to relocating programs from the Pine Street Wing of the former St. Joseph Hospital complex. That space currently houses computer science classrooms, art studios, Information Technology offices, Networks infrastructure, counseling offices, a study center and faculty offices.
To provide these students, colleagues, and programs with the spaces and tools to continue their exemplary work, ASMSA pursued a Feasibility Study update in 2015 to the original Campus Master Plan, which was completed in 2008.
The study explored two options for moving forward with the Campus Master Plan: the construction of a new academic building—the Creativity and Innovation Complex (CIC)—or the renovation of the Cedar Street Building. Both options seek to address not only many of our basic instructional needs but will also serve to highlight critical components of ASMSA’s mission.
While the Cedar Street building is an existing space available for renovation, aspects of the building’s design, the logistics of a renovation and cost were highlighted by the study as reasons to consider new construction for the Creativity and Innovation Complex.
In the time since fine and performing arts were added to ASMSA’s legislated mission in 2004, the General Assembly has not allocated funds to construct appropriate spaces in support of this stated mission. As ASMSA expands our programmatic opportunities in fine and digital arts by making commitments to additional faculty, classes, and curricular opportunities for students, having appropriate space in which to learn and practice their craft is essential.
In addition, ASMSA remains one of only a handful of schools in Arkansas offering advanced computer science education. At present, ASMSA accounts for 1 in 4 high school students in Arkansas studying computer programming. With growing attention in our state to the potential for entrepreneurship, technology development and the knowledge-based economy, ASMSA will continue to lead the way by providing innovative and challenging opportunities for students to help code the future of our state.
The next classroom space will provide both of these marquee programs with appropriate learning spaces in support of our residential students and outreach programs for talented Arkansas middle and high school students.
The facility will also house ASMSA’s Information Technology staff and network infrastructure. It will also feature a “maker space” for 3D printing, CNC milling, laser cutting, wood work, and rapid prototyping that could serve as a valuable resource for both the Hot Springs business and manufacturing communities. Finally, the building will house the counseling offices and Study Center, which encompass services that underscore the critical role that academic success plays in the lives of each ASMSA student.
The 2015 Feasibility Study explores three different site locations on campus for the Creativity and Innovation Complex. Option 1 continues the original thread of the Campus Master Plan and constructs the facility behind the Student Center. Option 2 is to create a new “Gateway” for campus and build the facility next to the current Academic and Administration Building. Option 3 frames the new campus around the “Courtyard” of the Student Center highlighting the institution’s past, present and future.
ASMSA’s administration, faculty, staff, students and other stakeholders have begun review of the plan and are exploring which route is the best for pursuit. Parallel to these discussions, Director Alderdice and the University of Arkansas System officials are examining financing options to move forward with the project. As ASMSA retires debt service on the Student Center in FY17, the school is eyeing a start date on the project of July 2017.
If you would like to contribute to the Creativity and Innovation Complex construction fund or learn more about the campus master plan, please contact Vicki Hinz, Director of Institutional Advancement, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (501) 622-5110.