The Guthrie Board of Education learned last week that the construction of the new elementary school in southern Logan County is behind schedule. The timing now leaves questions if the building can be open in time for the start of the next school year.
Guthrie Public Schools held a ground breaking ceremony for Charter Oak Elementary school on May 30 at the intersection of Douglas Blvd. and Charter Oak Road.
On October 12, the construction contractor, Charles Wash with W.L. McNatt, told board members between a wet summer and a surveyor issue that have lost over 50 days of construction time.
“We have been severely hampered by a very wet summer,” Superintendent Dr. Mike Simpson said. “Normally, you wouldn’t be concerned with rain in August but this year has proven to be an exception.”
The rain amount proved to be the seventh highest amount since 1994.
In addition of weather issues, the contractor lost several days due to a surveyor’s error dealing with the dirt work.
“Regrettably, we used a new surveyor on this one and never the less he was incompetent apparently,” Wash said during the special board meeting.
He continued, “It was a big hit. That put us back another 20 days or so. That one is all on us (contractor) and we will push like crazy to make up for that delay.”
Wash explained that if everything was done perfectly from this time forward with construction, that the school would be completed by Aug. 17.
Wash said, “If we go over that there’s no way we can make that start of school.”
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The tight deadline will leave school officials and board members having to make a decision this spring on a school calendar and when to begin classes next school year. The opening of the school also plays a role on grade centers, or neighborhood schools for the entire district.
It was apparent board members and Simpson want to be in the new building for the next school year as to having it sit empty for a year.
Asst. Superintendent Doug Ogle, who overlooks the school calendar committee, said the committee has drawn up three calendar drafts for whatever the situation may be.
One draft has the school year starting on Aug. 21 and another draft having school start after Labor Day. Another draft has additional time to the school days and a possible shorter Thanksgiving break.
The school board annually approves the final school calendar in February. However, Simpson implied the sooner the better on a decision so that families know where their children will be attending school.
Wash explained they have started working weekends and stated they will not cut corners on construction to simply get the school opened on time.