Ardmore City Schools has delayed the starting date at Will Rogers Elementary to Aug. 22 due to construction delays. The ACS Board of Education will hold a special meeting this week to approve the delay, according to ACS superintendent Sonny Bates.
One of the causes of the delay is the sprinkler system, which failed the 50 percent inspection by the fire marshal. Bates said the problem was discovered after the state fire marshal came to the facilities for re-test. With the problems, the progress on the sprinkler system has been delayed.
“We’ve made a lot of changes to the sprinkler system,” Bates said. “Everything was going so well.”
In addition to the sprinkler system changes that need to be put in place, 16 classrooms and four utility rooms need a ceiling or firewall that extends to the roof to prevent smoke and fire from entering into the classrooms, according to an email from Bates. The estimated finishing date for the fire walls is Aug. 16.
The delay also allows teachers to get into their classrooms, an issue that concerned many teachers at Will Rogers last week. Bates said the teachers will be allowed to enter their classrooms as soon as the firewalls are installed, pending permission by the fire chief.
Bates said he met with Will Rogers teachers during the week to discuss and address their concerns over preparing their classrooms and the timeline of construction. The delay will also allow custodial crews time to clean classrooms and halls following the construction.
“This gives us time to make sure everything is safe and ready for school to start,” Bates said. “Safety is our number one priority.”
The special meeting has been tentatively set for Thursday at noon, though Bates said that is subject to the availability of the board members. The decision delays school three school days.
Bates said the cafeteria, which was tiled on Friday, will still be open for the parent forum that is scheduled for Thursday.
All other Ardmore City Schools’ institutions will begin on Aug. 17 as scheduled.