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August 10, 2017 10:30:56 AM
The contents of this article have been modified since its original posting.
Construction of Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District's grades 6-7 partnership school is not expected to conclude until spring 2019 because of delays to dirt work caused by summer rains.
A revised timeline presented to the school board Tuesday shows the building's anticipated completion date is now March 15, 2019.
Previously, school district officials hoped to have the building completed in November 2018 and open for students at the beginning of 2019.
The district's contract for dirt work was expected to be completed by September, but a cumulative 45-day rain delay pushed its completion date back to November, which delayed the rest of the construction timeline.
SOCSD Superintendent Eddie Peasant said the new timeline means the district will transition into the building during the summer of 2019 and the school will be ready for the 2019-20 academic year.
"The reality is everybody would love to move in sooner than later, but moving in over a summer is going to be simpler for everybody," said SOCSD Board of Trustees President Keith Coble. "At the end of the day, our sense is we'd rather do it right than hurried."
The district could have held firm with previously agreed upon dates, but both Coble and Peasant said that move would have shortened the construction window for the dirt work, which would have driven up costs.
The new contract, a SOCSD press release states, extends construction time "in an effort to keep bid prices within the projected budget."
The almost $30 million, 123,000-square-foot building is funded by a local $16 million bond, a $10 million allocation from the Mississippi Legislature and cash and land donations by Mississippi State University. A portion of the local bond will also fund other district-wide capital improvements.
"We've had some really good meetings with JH&H, and we've made some adjustments to art and music spaces on the spot that will allow us to maximize instruction and provide the best learning environment for our students," Peasant said in the release. "Our state, our community and our university have invested a lot of resources in this project, and we want to make sure we get it right."
Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch
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