Seven University of Arkansas - Fort Smith students in a Community Leadership class gave some timely advice to city leaders May 6 in an end-of-the-semester presentation.
The students spent the semester researching possibilities for future use of a building a 622 N. 7th St., formerly owned by Girls Inc. and recently purchased by the City of Fort Smith. The Fort Smith Board of Directors planned to address the same issue in a meeting this week.
Dr. Steve Williams of Fort Smith, dean of the College of Business, was enthusiastic about the class activity.
“The students are excited about this project and are very appreciative of the many community leaders and officials who met with them,” said Williams.
Participating students included Gavin Stanfill of Alma; Daniel Hobbs, Branch; Brittany Johnson, Cameron, Okla.; Rikki Hobbs, Fort Smith; Leigha Graham and Emily Potter, both of Lavaca; and Chance Locklear, Van Buren. Rikki Hobbs, Graham, Stanfill and Daniel Hobbs are all business administration majors. Potter is a marketing major, and Locklear and Johnson are accounting majors.
The students’ recommendations including providing adult education opportunities, after-school programming for students, physical activity opportunities and alternative educational programming options
The class presentation included statistics on obesity and ways to counteract the problem through activities at the center, as well as programming that would address life skills needs, like balancing a checkbook, writing a check and filling out a job application.
The facility includes a full-size gymnasium, an indoor swimming pool and an outside field which the students visualized as a location for soccer and track, both by local teams and the general public.
The student team also recommended the center employ a well-trained staff, assisted by several local organizations and businesses who were committed or who have shown an interest in the future use of the facilities. Recommendations also showed the need for the community getting behind the project with a fund-raising effort.
Instructors for the class were Rusty Myers, retired executive with the Western Arkansas Planning and Development District, and Fred Williams of Williams/Crawford & Associates. Both praised the work done by the business students.