EDMOND — 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.”
It's not clear how the delay will affect the district, now with an enrollment of 23,213. That is nearly 800 students more than the year before and about 1,500 more than two years before that.
Susan Parks-Schlepp, director of public information, said some portable classrooms already are in use in the district, but she wasn't sure how many more would be needed. Cross Timbers Elementary in north Edmond has an enrollment of 1,100.
More portables likely will be needed there, she said.
The Edmond School Board voted on the name of Heartland Middle School based on a recommendation from a committee headed by Debra Bendick, executive director of secondary education.
The panel, Bendick said, sought public input on naming the school.
There were 63 suggestions and it was narrowed to three finalists: Red Earth, Heartland and Sentinel.
“Heartland Middle School derives its significance from the term of endearment that has grown to represent all that is most loved about our state and its people,” Bendick said.
“Here in the heart of this great nation, Oklahomans have demonstrated resiliency, charity, and tenacity to rise as an example of all that is best in the human spirit,” Bendick said.
In other business, the board approved a bid of $115,000 to redesign the district Web page from Staplegun, of Oklahoma City. Board member Kathleen Duncan questioned some of the company's rates.
The district hasn't had a web update in seven years and is seeking a website more compatible with mobile devices and social networks.
Board members also toured Mitch Park Y at Mitch Park, a collaborative effort between the YMCA, city of Edmond and the school district. It has an Olympic-sized swimming pool and space for 1,050 spectators.