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Poland board delays school start to Aug. 26

POLAND — The village schools Board of Education on Tuesday approved making Aug. 26 the first day of classes.

Classes were supposed to begin Monday, with teachers preparing their classrooms this week. However, because many of the projects in the buildings won’t be ready until Friday, school officials felt it would be best to delay the start of school to allow teachers the time to prepare their classrooms.

As for the delay of three days, Superintendent Craig Hockenberry said it wouldn’t be a problem down the road.

“Poland Schools are on hours now, not days,” Hockenberry said. “We have plenty of hours built into our schedule that a three-day delay won’t require extending the school year.”

The board unanimously voted to approve the new starting date.

“I see this as an investment to do things right. It is not a high price to pay,” Board member Larry Warren said.

The board at its special meeting also heard a construction update on the buildings.

Matt McKenzie, director of operations, praised the staff on the great job they have done regarding cleaning the buildings in advance of the school openings.

“Our staff did a great job in a not-so-regular year,” he said. “They had to work around construction and frequently had to go back and clean some places over again because of construction.”

McKenzie said the construction itself was something to be proud of. With the move, additional restrooms and classrooms at the high school, the Baird Mitchell Field demolition, and a major boiler project at the middle school, everything was coming together to get close to a deadline of Friday.

At the high school, McKenzie said the flooring will be done Wednesday with final inspection Thursday.

At McKinley, the Baird Mitchell Field concrete bleacher demolition is a little behind, McKenzie said, because of a delay in getting a demolition permit. This week the bleachers are gone, and the final grade work will be done Friday, he said.

“We will still have to pave the area,” McKenzie told board members. “It won’t happen this week and we will have to change the traffic pattern for a short time.”

He said the new paved area will allow for easy access for parents to drop their children off.

On the move, McKenzie said it was very successful. He said the staff literally had to move three and a half schools over the summer months.

“The big challenge now is planning for the items that will need to go into storage,” he said.

Because so many construction projects won’t wrap up till Friday, a lot of classroom furniture and other items weren’t set in place yet. Rooms that were being put together had items that were placed in the hall to go into storage. McKenzie said the amount to be moved to storage is still unknown at this time.

That last project is the boiler replacement at the middle school, McKenzie said.

Gardiner is heading the project with subcontractor Marrone Machanical. The project involved removing the old boiler and replacing it with a modern-type heating and cooling system.

The project was expected to run between $700,000 and $800,000. Poland had decided to use $497,359 of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief, second-round funding it received.

“It’s official, there is no more steam at the middle school,” McKenzie said.

He said the new system features coils that can carry heat or cooling throughout the school. Replacing the boiler was a huge project to take on considering all the other projects taking place, he said.

As for where the work on the new system is at, McKenzie said the final controls will be completed on Friday. There is still some additional work to be done on the system next week, but Marrone will be working in the afternoon so as not to interrupt the teachers.

Hockenberry said he apologizes to parents for the cancellation of open houses and orientations because of the construction projects. He said every effort will be made to work with parents to schedule those so as not to impact their work.

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