By Ray King

The Budget and Finance Committee of the Jefferson County Quorum Court was in complete agreement Tuesday night when they recommended that an appropriation ordinance to help pay for a track at UAPB be approved.

With 11 of the 13 members of the county’s legislatives body present or on zoom, the appropriation ordinance would transfer $3 million from American Recovery Plan money to a special project construction fund for UAPB.

Dr. Laurence B. Alexander, Chancellor at UAPB asked for the money in a letter to County Judge Gerald Robinson Oct. 28. The letter said the money will “serve as foundational support as we plan and construct the complex and expand support to the university and the county.”

After the committee vote, Alexander talked about what the funds will mean for UAPB.

In the letter, Alexander said  the complex “addresses the needs of the 21st century student athlete, the complex will also serve as a regional point of focus for community wellness and health education.”

The outdoor track and soccer complex will be the first in the history of the institution and despite not having its own track, student athletes have excelled in track and field events for a number of years.

Athletic Director Chris Robinson talked about that Tuesday night.

A memorandum of understanding between the county and UAPB provides that in the event of a pandemic, natural disaster or other emergency, the project may be used for an emergency response. It also provides that UAPB will develop policies that allow the general public to use the facilities at reasonable times for health and recreational purposes.

A final vote on the legislation will take place during the regular quorum court meeting Monday, Nov. 7 at 5:30 p.m.

The county entered into a similar agreement with Southeast Arkansas College earlier this year, putting up $3 million to help fund a student center and campus housing.