School Addition Won't Be Ready for Semester Start

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By Stephanie Tyrpak
By Randy Livingston

WOLF LAKE -- Shawnee School District is shuffling around students for the new year. The district broke ground on a new elementary wing last fall. However, the building won't be ready for the first day of classes next week.

District administrators were excited about having one campus, instead of elementary kids spread out in Grand Tower and McClure. The harsh winter delayed construction, so the district will have to keep one of the elementary schools open for the first month.
 
The district waited a decade for the building funding. They'll have to wait a little longer for their new wing after a rough winter bogged down construction...
 
"The project is currently 44 days behind schedule," said Superintendent Shelly Clover-Hill. "Which means we can't open next week as anticipated."
 
Clover-Hill realized in March that the space might not be ready in time. The district has decided to use one of the feeder schools in McClure for the first weeks of classes.
 
"It came down to transportation," said Clover-Hill. "If we would have bussed the south kids to north, we would have had to had two busses, which would have been an additional expense."
 
The original plan was to make it easier by shutting down both elementary campuses. The distance from Shawnee North to Shawnee South is 26 miles, so keeping only the McClure building open has taken a bit of brain-storming.
 
"We just want to make sure those kids know that that's their home for at least a month, and we're going to be doing lots of learning," said Elementary Principal Amy Reynolds. 
 
Reynolds has spent the days leading up to school working with teachers and figuring out how to safely transport kids across the 400 square mile district.
 
"We wanted to make sure bus times weren't disrupted very much," said Reynolds. "The routes weren't disrupted very much."
 
They'll have to get ready for another move in late September or October. However, Reynolds is looking forward to a facility that's centrally located and puts all the students and staff in one spot.
 
"I think we'll see benefits in our curriculum," said Reynolds. "The cohesiveness of our curriculum and just communication."
 
The new building also means the district has enough space to bring back Pre-K, but those kids will also be at the south school until the wing is finished.
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