The Jones Center Reimagined
Downtown Springdale has been undergoing a revitalization process over the past few years that has brought business, people, and life back into the area that surrounds Emma Ave. A community staple on the east side of Emma, the Jones Center, has served Springdale and Northwest Arkansas since 1995. It’s a 220,000 square foot recreation, education, and event center. The center offers children and families a place to engage in fitness activities as well as learning opportunities. On average, the Jones Center sees more than 500,000 visitors each year which is an influencing factor into the recent announcement of a facility expansion.
In September of 2020, the Jones Center received a grant from the Walton Family Foundation’s Design Excellence Program. The plan & design of the center were recently released showing a reimagined campus with a goal of welcoming all cultures. Currently, the 52-acre campus spans along E Emma Ave and includes the Harvey Jones Education Building and the Center for Nonprofits at the JTL Shop. The new design will transform the areas in between the buildings to create gathering spaces both large and small while visitors are utilizing the campus. Some other additions to the campus will be a dog park, food court, sports courts, and areas for public art installations. The new campus plan will work hand-in-hand with the ongoing Downtown Springdale Revitalization Master Plan as well as remain apart of the Razorback Greenway Trail.
Keeping in mind the many different cultures and backgrounds that call Northwest Arkansas home, the Jones Center hired three local artists to be involved in the redevelopment of the campus. The artists have the opportunity to implement different traditions and customs into the design making the campus a cultural destination. One design element that has been approved is the likeness of the Marshallese stick charts within the sidewalks. The direction of the sticks represent the pattern of the waves in between the Marshallese islands. By highlighting and celebrating the differences we all have, the Jones Center hopes to be a cultural destination where visitors feel welcome.
The Jones Center conducted several community group meetings and sent out surveys in order to gain public insight on the new design. With the understanding that cultural representation, inclusivity, and community accessibility were important to the design, the newly unveiled plans portray just that. Construction is believed to be underway by 2023.