Hot Springs offerings expand to downtown

by Steve Fellers

Henderson State University’s presence in Hot Springs continues to expand with the Jan. 13 opening of the university’s new campus facility. The spring semester started with 145 students taking 24 classes.

Extensive interior renovations were made to the Landmark Building on Market Street, including the addition of six classrooms, a conference center, and office space. Fifty new parking spaces were also added.

The first floor provides an open area with a reception desk, offices and two classrooms. A spiral staircase leads to an additional four classrooms on the second floor.

Two of the second-floor classrooms can be used for computer instruction, and one doubles as a conference room that can be used for community board meetings. Another classroom accommodates up to 39 students and can be converted to a seminar room for 80 people. All classrooms include Smart Boards, projectors, and computers for faculty.

Henderson leased the building last April.

“It’s been a long journey, but it’s just the beginning,” said Henderson President Glen Jones after the lease was announced. “We believe in the future of Hot Springs and are committed to helping educate the people in this area.”

Henderson opened the Downtown Education Center in Hot Springs this year.

In October 2013, Henderson hired Christi Batts to direct the Hot Springs Academic Initiatives program. She called the program “a perfect partnership” between Henderson State and National Park Community College.

Batts said students can complete their first two years of study at NPCC then transfer to Henderson’s program in Hot Springs. “Students can take their junior, senior and graduate courses towards degrees in business and education,” she said.

Batts praised the efforts of state Sen. Bill Sample and state Rep. John Vines for their help in securing state funds for the project. She also emphasized the role played by both Henderson State and NPCC.

“This is happening thanks to the goals of President Jones and the Board of Trustees at Henderson and NPCC,” Batts said.

She also acknowledged the contributions of Rick Williams, owner of the Landmark Building.

Henderson had offered courses and programs on the NPCC campus for many years. With the new facility and a full-time director, enrollment is expected to grow considerably over the next five years.

Henderson’s new facility shared with NPCC is a commitment to downtown Hot Springs, said Dr. Steve Adkison, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Henderson.

“Our shared dedication to meeting the Hot Springs community’s educational needs underscores our long term commitment to the educational, cultural, and economic well-being of the area,” he said.

The university seeks to expand its curriculum in Hot Springs.

“Building on our current offerings at the Landmark Building from our Ellis College of Arts and Sciences, Teachers College, and our School of Business, we look forward to building further transfer and completion opportunities with NPCC as we work together to create exciting and effective four-year and graduate degree opportunities,” Adkison said.

The initiative to increase off-campus enrollment is an important element of Henderson’s strategic plan. “This initiative focuses on building a stronger presence in Hot Springs by offering/developing programs suited to the needs of the area, resulting in more opportunities for more students to complete a four-year degree without commuting long distances to other campus locations.

“In addition to the National Park community, continued collaboration with other community colleges in the area will also be maintained and programs enhanced as needed. As a result, all off-campus offering should result in heightened enrollments.”

The plan also calls for identifying additional programs that would be successful in Hot Springs and other locations and prepare for their implementation.

Batts said the building is available for use by the community. To reserve a room, or for more information about classes in Hot Springs, contact Batts at 501-625-3837 or battsc@hsu.edu.

More photos from the Landmark Building and our open house available on Flickr.