heritage-w300South Arkansas Community College has announced plans to construct Heritage Plaza, an open-air quad at the center of SouthArk’s West Campus. The project was announced at SouthArk’s An Evening With the Stars gala on Saturday, April 28, with a presentation and remarks by SouthArk President Dr. Barbara Jones and SouthArk Foundation gift chairman Greg Withrow. Fundraising for the project will begin immediately, with construction planned for early 2013.    

Heritage Plaza was inspired by the classic image many students entertain of the traditional college experience: studying under a shade tree in the midst of a bustling campus center. Designed by Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects, the plaza will include a large central water feature that can be converted into a stage for special events, surrounded by a sprawling courtyard, green lawns and lush landscaping. By establishing the atmosphere of a traditional college campus, according to Foundation representatives, it will become a natural oasis and a central gathering space for students and faculty, while also raising the profile of SouthArk as a leader in education.

A testament to both El Dorado and SouthArk’s commitment to education, Jones said, Heritage Plaza will make huge strides in creating a sense of community among SouthArk students.

“Heritage Plaza will continue the momentum that SouthArk has obtained through the construction of the new Student Center and health-science building,” Jones said. “This green space is the natural next step in SouthArk’s remarkable growth, as well as a visible sign of our commitment to our students, our community and the environment.”

The proposed location of Heritage Plaza is a site that has been continuously occupied by educational institutions since 1843.

“We want to honor the rich educational history of this location, while also bringing our campus together architecturally,” Foundation President Terry Norman said.

Connecting the Administration Building and the Library, Heritage Plaza will link the Computer Technology Building to the north and the Health Science Center to the south with paved walkways, the idea is to increase campus walkability and bringing together students, faculty and visitors, Norman said.

Fundraising to make Heritage Plaza a reality is already underway.

“There is little doubt that Heritage Plaza will add immensely to the value of the educational experience SouthArk has to offer our students, creating greater interest in the school and ultimately leading to a larger, better prepared workforce for El Dorado,” Withrow said. “Now we are beginning the journey of raising the needed funds, and we are asking our community and our alumni to pledge their support at a variety of levels.”

Exclusive sponsorships are available for the fountain, lawns, trees and benches. Giving levels begin at $50.

South Arkansas Community College is a public, two-year institution providing educational programs, services and resources to residents of Union, Ashley, Bradley and Chicot Counties and their surrounding areas. The college’s stated emphasis is quality of education and personal attention.