Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson families, administration and staff dealt with a summer of construction-related bad news.
Many parents were at the Aug. 17 meeting as the USD 383 school board approved changing the start of school from Wednesday to Friday. Some parents were concerned about making adjustments to plans to accommodate that change.
TR Principal Andrea Tiede said the Boy and Girls Club will have its facility open for Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt students Wednesday and Thursday.
Wilson PTO president Stephanie Grynkiewicz said her phone “started blowing up” once news spread about a delayed start. “There are a lot of parents right now who are concerned,” she said.
Among the concerns, Grynkiewicz said, are whether quality is being compromised because of hurried work and the prospect that minutes might be added to the day to make up the one-and-a-half day lost time.
Grynkiewicz has a third and sixth grader at Wilson. Her sixth grader will begin the year at Northview Elementary and will likely be there until mid-September, when the new addition is scheduled for completion.
“It is what it is,” Grynkiewicz said.
Emmily Olgeirson, Theodore Roosevelt PTO president, said everyone acknowledges at this point that things can go wrong. “I don’t think anyone is surprise by it even though we’d rather have everything ready on time,” Olgeirson said.
The Theodore Roosevelt project has experienced struggles before. Those problems included two bid delays, original estimates that were $450,000 short due to a spreadsheet error, and a delay in the start of construction.
“I’m learning that with construction projects, nothing goes as planned,” Tiede said.
With the original building not in use, only four classrooms, cafeteria and gym will be inside existing structures. The rest of the school – principal’s office, library, kindergarten and first grade, fourth through sixth grade – will be in mobile classrooms.
This will be TR’s school life for a large portion of the year as everything isn’t scheduled for completion until around Spring Break.
“We going to be tight,” Tiede said. “We’re going to be sharing spaces and practicing a lot of collaboration and cooperation.”
She said walkways are being installed outside and procedures and security measures for maximum safety are being reviewed.
Tiede said the TR staff is excited for the new school year and look forward to working with the students.
Grynkiewicz said she’s looking forward to the new improvements once things finally get settled. “We have lived with no central air, a cranky, old boiler and holes in the walls for years,” she said.
Olgeirson said the most important thing is that everyone is happy and safe.