Ryan Scott Ottney
PDT Staff Writer
NEW BOSTON — After five months of delays, New Boston School has announced Nov. 19 will be the first day of school for students in the new building on Lakeview Avenue.
The district passed a local levy to build new schools in 2008, and broke ground in April 2011. The original completion date was expected to have been June 1, and was pushed to June 29 — then to July 15, then to Aug. 15, then to Sept. 5, then to Sept. 28, and then delayed to an undetermined date. Superintendent Mike Staggs said the project engineers addressed the New Boston School Board this week, and reported that the building would finally be ready in time to open on Nov. 19.
Staggs notified faculty and staff of the school’s plan by e-mail.
“I was beginning to think this day would never come!” Staggs began in the e-mail. “We will be starting school in the old buildings on Monday, November 19th and bussing all students and some staff during the day to the new building. On the 20th all students and staff will report to the new building.”
Students are being bussed to the new school, rather than dropped off by parents, to allow the school to maintain order during the move. Seniors will be the first to arrive to tour the new building. Once they leave, there is no going back. At the end of the day, parents will pick up their children from the new building on Lakeview Avenue, and begin dropping off students at the new school on Tuesday. Staggs said the bus schedule will not change very much.
“We will send out a new Tiger Paw (newsletter) this coming week, so if there is any changes — five minutes one way or the other — they will be notified of that,” he said.
The week of Nov. 19 is a short week for the district, beginning Thanksgiving Break on Wednesday, Nov. 21.
“Those last two days before you get off for Thanksgiving are not real productive days anyway, especially the day before. We wanted to get the kids in the building to get them acclimated and get their bearing on where they’re going. We thought the best days we could possibly do that was Monday and Tuesday before Thanksgiving,” Staggs said.
After returning from Thanksgiving Break, Staggs said the district can use the weeks until Christmas Break to examine their systems to know what works and what doesn’t, and further tighten those systems when they return in January.
The school will pave the new Glenwood Tiger Trail and have a final safety inspection next week. Staggs said he has been assured by the project managers that the building is ready and will pass that inspection.
The biggest problem for construction, Staggs said, has been the difficulties of building on this unique site; but Staggs said there were no other viable options for the district. Many wonder why they couldn’t have built on the former Walmart mall site, where businesses have been struggling since the retailer moved to its new location in 2007. Staggs said the district did not have enough money to purchase that site and remediate the land for construction.
The site they did choose, however, does have its own benefits.
“Kids in New Boston (school) have never played on grass. That’s significant, because asphalt is very hard and I don’t think it’s good for kids,” Staggs said. “Now we have the stadium right there, the tennis courts, the park. Right now we walk from Glenwood to have P.E. class on the tennis court. That’s dangerous in itself to walk that far, and it takes up half the time for P.E. Now it’s right there. We’ve got the park, and we can play baseball — I just can’t imagine being any other place in New Boston.”
The new school building will be open for the community tours on Wednesday, Nov. 21, from 9 to 11 a.m. and from 6 to 8 p.m., and a special Alumni Reception at the school on Saturday, Nov. 24 at 6 p.m. The building dedication ceremony will be 1 p.m. on Dec. 13.
Ryan Scott Ottney can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 287, or firstname.lastname@example.org.