Events Highlight New Facilities

   Campus kicked off its back to school activities on July 28 and 29 with incoming freshman and sophomore orientations in preparation of the first day of school on Aug. 16. At orientation, students split into five groups with Student Ambassadors, who led tours around the building. These walkthroughs focused on the newly constructed areas of the school. 

   “I think it was exciting to be able to welcome the inaugural class of freshmen onto the Southside High School campus. Being able to share our welcome home theme made them feel less anxiety as they began their journey,” Star teacher Amy Adams said.

   The orientation also welcomed the new teachers, coaches, and faculty joining the staff along with new principal, Jeff Prewitt. 

   “My most memorable moment coaching was getting to play our first games in the new arena, and all the memories our teams have made in it this year,” freshman girls basketball coach Cayley French said.

   The construction and remodeling of the building lasted around 18 months and created the freshman academy, the new commons, the media center, the learning stairs, the new counseling offices, and finished with the making of the new arena and two storm shelters. This also included the renovation of the main offices and its security innovations.

   “I like the freshman center. It’s very new, which is refreshing, and all the colors are relaxing,” freshman Gracie Franklin said.

   According to the Fort Smith Public Schools (FSPS) Annual Report to the Public, the construction added 106,082 square feet to the school.  Open House followed the orientations on Aug. 12. This provided students the opportunity to learn their new schedules, meet their teachers, and become more familiar with their daily route.

   “Since I went to Open House and got to go through my schedule and figure out where my classes were, it made the first day less stressful,” freshman Easton Hayes said.

   The night also featured a club fair for incoming students to learn about the clubs and organizations they can be a part of at Southside. Twenty-five clubs participated and set up booths around the commons for students to visit.

   “I thought the club fair went really well. It helps give new students an idea of what Southside has to offer,” Student Council vice-president Abby Holycross said.

   The construction period officially came to an end with the completion of the Maverick Arena. On Aug. 19, the volleyball team played the Southside vs. Northside benefit game, the first sporting event held in the new facility. 

   “Getting to see as many fans as we had for that first Southside against Northside benefit match and getting the kids and parents in here was an absolute blast. Just to get to be able to play on our home campus for the first time in so long was amazing,” varisty volleyball Coach Natalie Throneberry said.