The Rapert Library Complex, which was the first building constructed on the University of Arkansas at Hope campus after joining the University of Arkansas System in 1996, is receiving an expansion and updates that will help it better serve the campus and the community well into the future. The Rapert Library stands as the symbol of the transition that took place on July 1, 1996, when Red River Technical College became a division of the University of Arkansas System and was renamed the University of Arkansas Community College at Hope (UACCH). That historic event and our partnership with the U of A System was made possible on March 5, 1996, by the support and endorsement of the citizens of Hempstead County who overwhelmingly voted to approve the expansion of the college and merger with the U of A System. As a benefit for their support, all citizens of Hempstead County continue to receive a discounted tuition rate at U of A Hope.
Over the last 20 years, the 16,800 square foot UACCH Library Complex has become a landmark for Hempstead County and the U of A Hope campus. “The Rapert Library stands as a reflection of our citizens’ past and present commitment to progress through education right here at home,” said Chris Thomason, Chancellor of the University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana. “The library is the cornerstone of the foundation that joins Hempstead County as a valuable member of the University of Arkansas System family.”
“The library is also the cornerstone supporting access to a world-class education for our residents each and every day,” said Thomason. The facility which houses the college library, student computer labs, classrooms, faculty offices, a teleconference room, and a 200 seat auditorium was completed in November of 1996. At the dedication of the new facility, Governor Mike Huckabee said, “UACCH represents a part of the foundation for Hope’s future, and you can truly say as you walk out of this newly dedicated library that Hope will have a positive, growing future.”
The late Johnny W. Rapert, former Chancellor of UACCH, said at the dedication, “One of the crowning achievements of the college was the completion of the library complex and completing the accreditation process that enabled the college to become a part of the U of A System.” In November 1999, the U of A Board of Trustees designated the building as the Johnny W. Rapert Library Complex in honor of the former chancellor who served from 1988 to 1999.
“The expansion and modifications currently underway will ensure that the Rapert Complex continues to be a beautiful reflection of the history of the partnership between Hempstead County and the U of A System, as well as a state of the art facility supporting unparalleled educational resources to our campus and community,” said Thomason. Upgrades to the facility include adding a new main campus entrance, outdoor courtyard, reading room, cyber café, campus bookstore, and updating the library and auditorium. Additionally, the west wing of the facility, which presently houses the UAMS School of Nursing, will be converted to become the new home of the Hope Collegiate & Professions Academy High School Pilot that begins this fall.
“When you stand in front of the Rapert Library Complex you know and feel that you are in Hempstead County, and on a University of Arkansas campus,” said Thomason. “It stands as more than an educational facility. It represents our past, present, and future together as proud Hempstead County residents. For 20 years, it has demonstrated our commitment to education and progress for all of our citizens. I am proud to stand in front of the Rapert Library today and know that this construction project will ensure that future generations from Hempstead County or visiting Hempstead County will continue to appreciate who we are and what we truly dream of for the future of our home.”