CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) -The school year was supposed to begin Aug. 15 for students at the two brand new high schools in the Willoughby-Eastlake School District, but because of construction delays it was moved to Sept. 3.
The school district posted a letter to social media back in July, signed by David Stahl from the AECOM construction company, stating the two brand new high schools would be done on time.
“We’re still trying to get it done on time," Stahl said. “It wasn’t our decision to delay the opening.”
Stahl said South High School was given its occupancy permit on Friday, meaning staff could have been in working on classrooms.
He did admit not all of the cosmetic finishes were complete, but that all of the emergency and security systems required by the city are up and running.
“It is unfortunate that our school buildings were not completely finished within the originally projected timeline,” Superintendent Steve Thompson said on Monday. “Because our district staff members were not able to have an adequate amount of time to work within the new school buildings, properly complete necessary installation of technology needed for instruction, prepare for classroom lessons and familiarize themselves with critical safety protocols, the Willoughby-Eastlake City Schools Board of Education did not believe it would be advisable to place students and staff in environments that were not complete.”
According to a spokesperson for the school district, AECOM faces a penalty for not being done on time.
I have requested, and am waiting for, the details of that penalty.
Stahl said they knew they would be pushing it to the deadline, which is why they have been working on overtime for the past year.
“The labor market is very tight right now. There are projects going on everywhere,” Stahl said. “The ability to get workers and materials right now is tough.”
Stahl expects inspectors to be going through North High School Monday and Tuesday, meaning an occupancy permit could be coming in just before the deadline of this week.