Hamilton Learning Academy opened in 1956 as Southwest Junior High School; it was named for the section of the city in which it is located (at that time, this area was the southwestern edge of Little Rock). A library and covered walkways were added to the original building in 1973. In 2004 a series of upgrades were completed, including a classroom addition, new windows and a new roof.
Southwest ceased operation as a middle school at the end of the 2005-06 school year and began the 2006-07 school year as the Southwest Learning Academy--a comprehensive, state-of-the-art alternative learning academy for secondary students who are not thriving in a traditional school setting. The district's existing two alternative learning centers, at 800 Apperson St. and in the Garland building, were closed when this center became operational. In May 2007 the facility was renamed the Hamilton Learning Academy to honor W.D. "Bill" Hamilton, a former LRSD board member (1983-1992) and civic leader. The school ceased traditional operations in 2017 but remains a part of the Little Rock School District.
Born in Hope, Arkansas, Willie Daniel "Bill" Hamilton received a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Philander Smith University. He taught math for several years before accepting the position of Administrative Director of the Economic Opportunity Agency (EOA) Family Planning Program. He served as Executive Director of the Governor's Council on Humane Resources, serving under Governor Winthrop Rockefeller, and Executive Director of the Arkansas Family Planning Council established by Governor Dale Bumpers. He also served on the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health (1972-1978), serving as president from 1977 to 1978.
LRSD archives.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 July 2017