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mcheiss

Higher Education Construction Projects in NWA

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We need to discuss potential Educational opportunities and current Educational problems for NWA.

It looks like the Catholic Diocese of Little Rock is taking a second look into the potential for a high school in Northwest Arkansas.

The Most Rev. J. Peter Sartain, bishop of the diocese, has appointed a former Catholic school principal to lead a high school planning committee, according to a news release from the office of Catholic Schools of Arkansas.

Currently, the State of Arkansas has 35 Catholic Schools.

There are six Catholic high schools in Arkansas, with the newest, St. Joseph Senior High School in Pine Bluff, opening in 1999. There are two high schools in Little Rock and one each in Conway, Morrilton and Subiaco.

The state diocese owns 100 acres off Interstate 540 at Arkansas 264 in Lowell that could be used for a regional high school campus. The church purchased the land in 2003.

There are two Catholic schools in Benton and Washington counties that serve students through the seventh grade : St. Joseph in Fayetteville and St. Vincent de Paul in Rogers.

The diocese formed a Northwest Arkansas-based committee nearly two years ago that studied the feasibility of a Catholic high school. A Wisconsin firm, Meitler Consultants, assisted the committee and conducted research that looked at census demographics, Catholic population in the area parishes and community interest.

You guys think this could happen?

I think we have enough Catholics up here to really start a Catholic High School, and I like how there's land near Lowell for a potential site.

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I certainly think it's possible. I admit though I'm not so sure how these schools work. Are they private in that you have to pay or more like public? Obviously the big portion of the Catholic crowd up here is hispanic. But if you had to pay I don't think there's much of a hispanic middle class up here yet. I'm not sure if it would go over with the hispanic crowd and they are going to need their support I think for a school like this to work. Ther Lowell location makes it very centrally located for the metro. Also centrally located between Springdale and Rogers, the two cities with the biggest hispanic population.

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The Catholic Schools in NWA are about 95% White suprisingly.

And the schools are private where you have to pay tuition.

Also, this school could be accepted by not only Catholics, but also by parents who want their kids to go to a nice private school.

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The Catholic Schools in NWA are about 95% White suprisingly.

And the schools are private where you have to pay tuition.

Also, this school could be accepted by not only Catholics, but also by parents who want their kids to go to a nice private school.

Yeah that is true too. People who want their kids in a more religious environment even if it's not Baptist. I suppose it's still possible it I think it will be a lot harder without much support in the hispanic community.

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Yeah that is true too. People who want their kids in a more religious environment even if it's not Baptist. I suppose it's still possible it I think it will be a lot harder without much support in the hispanic community.

You are right that it will be easier if the hispanic population comes more a factor.

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With rare exception, the Hispanics in NWA aren't the kind that pay for private school tuition. You really need more motivated, middle class kids and that's a rarity in the NWA Hispanic community which often is non-English speaking and migrates to Mexico seasonally. In Little Rock, Catholic High School and Mt St Mary's are probably >95% white and only 40% of the students are actually Catholic (I'm an alum and I'm Presbyterian). The Catholic elementary schools feed the high schools (in and around LR I bet there are 15 or so), so I think more Catholic/private elementaries would help. Episcopal and Lutheran-educated kids used to attend Catholic frequently for high school until they finally build their own high schools a couple of years ago. A few new Catholic or denominational elementaries would help establish a base on which a new HS could be supported.

I think the demand will be there. NWA public schools are generally good but there is a need for a higher tier college prep school in the mold of Catholic, Pulaski Academy, or Episcopal in Little Rock and the money is there in NWA to support it. Shiloh is really more of a Christian-oriented school along the lines of CAC, Ark Baptist, and Harding Academy and not really a true college prep school. If the diocese doesn't do it, there will be a private entity or another church start one. Sopmething like PA, which is quite high-priced and non-denominational, would actually do very well up there.

New Catholic high schools are uncommon, they just opened one in Plano here and it's the first in the metro since the early 70s. There are several older ones: Dallas Jesuit, Cistercian, Bishop Lynch, and Bishop Dunne immediately come to mind.

I hate to admit it but I'm a private school snob. Presence of an excellent private school is one of the major determining factors in where I would choose to live and would keep me from living in NWA or Hot Springs right now.

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Yeah, It can be geared as a private school for anyone. Many parents would chose this school over public education for their children.

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I just read the article and noticed that the study that showed it would be tough for NWA to support one was based on what I mentioned - the lack of elementary schools to feed into the high school. Remedying that would probably make the high school feasible.

Pine Bluff started a small Catholic high school in 1999, BTW, but they have the problems of flight and deteriorating schools to fuel it and NWA doesn't.

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I just read the article and noticed that the study that showed it would be tough for NWA to support one was based on what I mentioned - the lack of elementary schools to feed into the high school. Remedying that would probably make the high school feasible.

Pine Bluff started a small Catholic high school in 1999, BTW, but they have the problems of flight and deteriorating schools to fuel it and NWA doesn't.

True if Pine Bluff could have one you'd think there would be a chance here. Like you said earlier it doesn't have to be only Catholics at the school. Do you think any Protestants would be hesitant to send their kid to a Catholic High School? Are there any people who are worried about that kind of thing? With so many Baptists in the area why aren't there more Baptists schools, just out of curiousity.

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True if Pine Bluff could have one you'd think there would be a chance here. Like you said earlier it doesn't have to be only Catholics at the school. Do you think any Protestants would be hesitant to send their kid to a Catholic High School? Are there any people who are worried about that kind of thing? With so many Baptists in the area why aren't there more Baptists schools, just out of curiousity.

In Little Rock the reputations of the schools (MSM dates to the 1880s, CHS to the 1920s) are well-entrenched and the alumni permeate the business community, physicians, lawyers, etc of the area such that it has become essentially nondenominational but with a strong Christian overtone. We even had a couple of Jewish kids there and it was very accepting. In NWA where things are a little more conservative and fundamentalist things might be different and there might be more distrust of a Catholic school. I think Baptists tend to focus more on religious education and less on college prep curricula in their schools, including Arkansas Baptist, and they fail to attain the academic prestige of some of the others. Catholic schools everywhere have learned to follow an established formula. The other thing, though, is that funding is a big issue. You have to be from a large, wealthy church to start your own high school. However, amongst Catholics and Episcopalians the diocese starts it, making it much easier to fund from a shared pool of revenue.

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In Little Rock the reputations of the schools (MSM dates to the 1880s, CHS to the 1920s) are well-entrenched and the alumni permeate the business community, physicians, lawyers, etc of the area such that it has become essentially nondenominational but with a strong Christian overtone. We even had a couple of Jewish kids there and it was very accepting. In NWA where things are a little more conservative and fundamentalist things might be different and there might be more distrust of a Catholic school. I think Baptists tend to focus more on religious education and less on college prep curricula in their schools, including Arkansas Baptist, and they fail to attain the academic prestige of some of the others. Catholic schools everywhere have learned to follow an established formula. The other thing, though, is that funding is a big issue. You have to be from a large, wealthy church to start your own high school. However, amongst Catholics and Episcopalians the diocese starts it, making it much easier to fund from a shared pool of revenue.

Is Shiloh Christian started by the First Baptist Church in Springdale. I'm surprised to see that church not doing more. It is the biggest church in the whole state.

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Is Shiloh Christian started by the First Baptist Church in Springdale. I'm surprised to see that church not doing more. It is the biggest church in the whole state.

Fellowship is the 2nd biggest around here with membership over 20,000, followed by St. Vincet De Paul Catholic Church at around 15,000+.

I think a nice Baptist Prep School would work very well in NWA.

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Is Shiloh Christian started by the First Baptist Church in Springdale. I'm surprised to see that church not doing more. It is the biggest church in the whole state.

I'm surprised by that, I would've thought Fellowship Bible Church and Immanuel Baptist were bigger. Arkansas Baptist is run by First Baptist Church in Little Rock, which is a large affluent Baptist church but is dwarfed by the others. Again, it's hard to do for a couple of reasons - one is that you don't have Baptist elementary schools as feeders. Second, is that again you don't have a large governing agency like the Diocese that has experience with running schools to help start the place up.

A big issue is that Baptists don't generally run "prep schools". They have a different agenda.

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May'be Fellowship is bigger, I'm not really sure.

I just know that the big 3 here in NWA are St. Vincent, Fellowship, and First Baptist in Springdale.

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May'be Fellowship is bigger, I'm not really sure.

I just know that the big 3 here in NWA are St. Vincent, Fellowship, and First Baptist in Springdale.

I've always heard that First Baptist in Springdale is by far the largest church in the state. I got the impression it's not even close. I've heard they have over 10,000 members. I'm not sure how many people they have on a regular Sunday or how many they can hold for that matter. But I was under the impression they could hold quite a few people in their church. Seems like I've heard some of their sports facilities they have at their church is better than some high schools facilities.

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May'be Fellowship is bigger, I'm not really sure.

I just know that the big 3 here in NWA are St. Vincent, Fellowship, and First Baptist in Springdale.

The Fellowship up there is a smaller spinoff of the one in LR, I know that. That place is like a college campus.

Immanuel Baptist was a gorgeous old campus near downtown Little Rock that moved out West into a new megachurch off of I-430 and Shackleford I call the "mall of God". The old one was Clinton's church when he was in LR.

Old Immanuel Baptist, now part of Ark Children's

imbap.jpg

New...

52404churchfront2.jpg

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Do you have any numbers on membership?

It looks huge.

I have no idea. I think it would be interesting to see the membership figures for churches in Arkansas.

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According to a megachurch website, the 3 largest congregations in Arkansas are Fellowship in Springdale, then Fellowship in Lowell, then Fellowship in LR.

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According to a megachurch website, the 3 largest congregations in Arkansas are Fellowship in Springdale, then Fellowship in Lowell, then Fellowship in LR.

Hmmm...I haven't been able to find any figures but I know I'd seen some mention either on the local news or internet news that said First Baptist of Springdale was the largest church in Arkansas. Maybe they were referring to some particular category or something. Maybe something like total members which of course doesn't mean how many people actually go on an average Sunday.

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Hmmm...I haven't been able to find any figures but I know I'd seen some mention either on the local news or internet news that said First Baptist of Springdale was the largest church in Arkansas. Maybe they were referring to some particular category or something. Maybe something like total members which of course doesn't mean how many people actually go on an average Sunday.

Sorry, I meant Fellowship in Lowell, then First Baptist of Springdale, then Fellowship in LR

Congregation membership is all arbitrary. Counting kids, padding numbers by adding visitors, etc is part of it. In LR there are a bunch of satellite churches off of the megachurches that decrease the numbers (Fellowship-NLR, Fellowship-West, etc).

To look at Immanuel Baptist, First Pentecostal, Agape, or Geyer Springs Baptist I would think all of these dwarf all 3 of these churches, it was kind of surprising.

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I don't recall a Fellowship in Springdale, unless I'm getting it mixed up with another church.

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Sorry, I meant Fellowship in Lowell, then First Baptist of Springdale, then Fellowship in LR

Congregation membership is all arbitrary. Counting kids, padding numbers by adding visitors, etc is part of it. In LR there are a bunch of satellite churches off of the megachurches that decrease the numbers (Fellowship-NLR, Fellowship-West, etc).

To look at Immanuel Baptist, First Pentecostal, Agape, or Geyer Springs Baptist I would think all of these dwarf all 3 of these churches, it was kind of surprising.

Yeah I know First Baptist in Springdale has a satellite church in Rogers. I remember them making a big deal when they sent over 300-400 members to start it up.

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Yeah I see the site now, they have average attendance of 5,000 in Fellowship Bible Church in Lowell. 4,000 average in First Baptist in Springdale and 2,400 average in Fellowship Bible Church in Little Rock. I can't say I've even heard of Fellowship Bible in Lowell. I also wonder why we seem to have such big churches up here.

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Yeah I see the site now, they have average attendance of 5,000 in Fellowship Bible Church in Lowell. 4,000 average in First Baptist in Springdale and 2,400 average in Fellowship Bible Church in Little Rock. I can't say I've even heard of Fellowship Bible in Lowell. I also wonder why we seem to have such big churches up here.

That's the huge church that everyone goes to up here.

It's actually in Rogers because it's off of Pleasant Grove Rd., barely in Rogers.

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