Weather delays opening of two Edmond campuses

Two new schools will open a year later than planned, officials said Monday. Last year's wet weather is at least partially to blame.
BY STEVE GUST Modified: January 15, 2014 at 12:47 pm •  Published: January 15, 2014
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Two new campuses will each open a year later than planned, Edmond School Board members were told Monday.

Bret Towne, assistant superintendent for general administration, said weather will prevent Heritage Elementary and the newly named Heartland Middle School from opening on schedule.

Officials had hoped to have Heritage Elementary, under construction on Sorghum Mill between Bryant and Broadway, open in the fall.

Heartland Middle School, to be built near Pennsylvania between Covell and Danforth, was to have opened in the fall of 2015.

Both campuses are now scheduled to open 12 months after the original dates.

Last year, the metro had one of the wettest years on record with more than 50 inches of rain, board members were told, and December ice and snow further prevented masons from laying brick.

Towne said he compared aerial construction photographs of Heritage compared with an aerial photo done at the same time in the construction process of the recently completed Frontier Elementary.

“The aerial photo showed we were far behind at Heritage compared to the same time at Frontier,” he said. Frontier Elementary just barely opened for the 2013-14 school year.

“From what I saw the earliest we could possibly open, if we didn't lose another day, would be next Christmas. And we're going to lose more days,” Towne told board members.

Construction has not begun on the middle school, but the opening date was pushed back due to the delay at Heritage, schools officials said.

“It wouldn't be financially prudent to open both new schools in the same year,” said CFO Lori Smith. “It costs about $1.5 million to open and staff an elementary school and another $2.5 million to open and staff a middle school. Absent a tremendous infusion of financial support from the state legislature, we couldn't open both simultaneously without devastating our fund balance.”

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