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Department of Education & local authority
approve property transfer proposal

Feb. 8, 2007 -- Arkansas State University-Jonesboro has moved closer to acquiring the U.S. Army Reserve Center property on Caraway Road. On Jan. 10, the Board of Trustees adopted a resolution to make application to the Secretary of Education for the federal government surplus property to be used by the university for educational purposes.

ASU’s application has now been approved by the U. S. Department of Education. Barbara L. Shawyer, Federal Real Property Assistance Program, confirmed the approval in a Feb. 1 letter to Dr. Robert L. Potts, chancellor, ASU-Jonesboro.

"In a letter today to the ARC Jonesboro Local Redevelopment Authority, the U.S. Department of Education confirmed that it has approved your application at a 100 percent Public Benefit Allowance discount for the purposes of establishing a Math/Science Academy," Shawyer stated.

Shawyer stated that if approved by the Local Redevelopment Authority, the U.S. Department of Education would formally request assignment of the property from the Department of the Army on behalf of ASU.

According to Tony E. Thomas, project administrator for the City of Jonesboro, "in a meeting Feb. 7, the Jonesboro Local Redevelopment Authority did agree to support the proposed use of the Army Reserve Facility at 1001 South Caraway Road." Thomas added that the Jonesboro Local Redevelopment Authority will forward its recommendation to the Department of Housing and Urban Development before April 1, 2007, after which time the recommendation will be forwarded to the Department of Defense.

"If approved by the Department of Defense," Thomas said, "the Department of Education has agreed to support conveyance of the facility to Arkansas State University at no charge."

The final decision on the property’s disposal will rest upon the discretionary authority of the U.S. Army.

According to Dr. Cynthia Miller, director of the Delta Institute for Math and Science Education, a partnership between ASU and East Arkansas Community College, "The Math/Science Academy, planned for the Army Reserve building, will be a huge asset for math, science, technology, and engineering students, teachers, and faculty. It will provide fabrication space, equipment, and training for a wide variety of programs, which will include BEST Robotics competitions, steel bridge competitions, human-powered vehicle competitions, Math Counts competitions, science fairs, and more.

"Teachers will be trained in cutting-edge math, science, and technology, and more than $150,000 worth of materials and equipment for free teacher checkout will be housed at the Math/Science Academy," she added. "Math and Science Methods & Material courses will be held at the academy, and the pre-service education students will also check out these materials for their class projects and internships in local schools."

"We were delighted to receive [the] letter of Feb. 1, indicating the U.S. Department of Education’s approval of ASU’s application to acquire the former U. S. Army Reserve Center property," Potts responded. "Approval by the Local Redevelopment Authority is another very positive step for ASU."

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