School no longer in operation
West Side Junior High opened in 1917 and had an enrollment of about 900 7th and 8th grade students. It not only served as a school but also as a community center. Its pool was used for birthday parties and swimming lessons. In 1971 the school closed and became the Little Rock Skills Center. The vocational training center moved out of the building in 1984, and it lay vacant for a number of years. The Little Rock School District announced plans in the early 1990s to demolish the building; however, neighborhood leaders were able to stop the plans, arguing the building's significance to the neighborhood.
The Arc Arkansas, an organization that provides services to individuals with developmental and physical disabilities, purchased the building and began to renovate it in November 2002. The $5 million renovation was completed in December 2003, and the building now contains 43 loft apartments for people with and without disabilities. The auditorium/cafeteria building has been converted into a children's medical clinic and office space for the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). The West Side building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Arc Arkansas web site; Westside Lofts page
Central High Neighborhood, Inc., website; West Side Junior High School page:
If you have information about a Little Rock school or photographs that you would like to contribute to this project (we will return photographs if requested), please contact us!
Updated March 2005