Southside School District holds Groundbreaking

The Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce held a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the new addition to Southside School District’s Junior and Senior High School.

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Serving students in pre-k through 12th grade, Southside School District maintains rigorous academic standards while providing a positive and safe learning environment. In addition to offering foundational core classes, Southside offers a range of extracurricular opportunities and programs in engineering, construction, art, journalism and more.

The result of a millage passed in 2021, the 146,000 square foot addition will contain state-of-the-art classrooms, science and technology labs, multipurpose spaces for extracurricular activities and community events, a fine arts suite, upgraded athletic facilities, and a new cafeteria and dining bistro. 

“Today is a culmination of the vision of [former superintendent] Mr. Roger Rich and the school board, which started about five years ago,” began Southside School District Superintendent Dion Stevens. Stevens explained that although they had many obstacles to overcome, including the delay of the project due to historic inflation, everyone had patience and belief that the project would become a reality, saying, “We’re forever grateful to the people who helped us make this project a reality and the unwavering trust the community has for this school district,” Stevens said.

“We are proud to be here today to celebrate a remarkable plan for growth with an impressive expansion of education in our community,” said BACC CEO Crystal Johnson. “This project blends needed facility expansions with thoughtful planning that will engage students in new and exciting ways. We want to congratulate you and the students of this district on another amazing project to support growth and education,” concluded Johnson.


With shovels in hand, Superintendent Stevens gathered with board members and other supporters to break ground on the expansion.

Ambassadors in attendance included: Ashley Engles (Citizens Bank), Amy Finster (White River Health), Dana Millikin (White River Now), Justin Russell (Bank of Cave City), Lucy Rodriguez (George’s Inc), Peter Rouiler (First Community Bank), Chad Whiteaker (White River Now), Brittney Harris (Independence Off Road), Jesse Cargill (UAMS), Michael Kelley (Peco Foods), John High (Qualls Batesville Funeral Service), Kirsten Harvey (Arkansas Sherriff’s Youth Ranch), and Eva Henriksen (Merchants & Planters Bank).

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