CHESTER - Students at Allen T. Allison Elementary School in Chester will be able to add a few more days to their summer vacation.
While the rest of Hancock County Schools start the new year on Thursday, Allison students in the second, third and fourth grades will start on Aug. 29, and students in kindergarten and first grade will start on Sept. 4, Superintendent Suzan Smith said.
The delay is the result of construction which began in June and is expected to last throughout the school year, Smith said.
"The ceilings have been removed, so we needed to make sure the conduit and wiring was all in place and secured for the safety of the students," Smith said.
The 49-year-old school is in the midst of a $5.3 million renovation project, funded by the $37 million bond levy approved by Hancock County voters in November 2010.
The renovation work includes site drainage; landscaping; heating, ventilating and air conditioning improvements; restroom upgrades; and new play yards, windows, exterior doors, downspouts, ceilings, flooring, lighting, security cameras, data wiring, sprinkler systems, paving and parking spaces.
Allison also is getting three new pre-kindergarten classrooms and a physical education addition. The cafeteria currently is used for physical education classes.
The starting dates are being staggered because the area of the building housing grades 2, 3 and 4 will be ready for occupancy prior to the rear of the building, which houses the kindergarten and first-grade classrooms, Smith said.
New Manchester Elementary School is undergoing similar renovations, but classes there will start on time, Smith said. "The staff is back, and they are working very hard to get their rooms all ready," she said.
Plans for a school-based health center at Allison have been put on hold until the other construction work is done, Smith said.
Even as the school district is improving some buildings, it is preparing to sell off others. The old Oak Glen football stadium in Newell and Jimmy Carey Stadium in Weirton will be sold at public auction at 10 a.m. Oct. 5.
The auction will take place at the John D. Rockefeller Career Center, and a minimum bid will be set, Smith said.
The stadiums were declared surplus property in June, after the school board determined that the new multi-purpose athletic complexes at Oak Glen and Weir High schools would be ready for the 2012-13 school year.
The school board has scheduled a special meeting/work session for 6:30 p.m. Monday to discuss bond projects and other business.