Archive for Wednesday, November 20, 2002

Water tower could delay start to school year

November 20, 2002

It's a possibility Baldwin schools will start late next year. In fact, classes might not resume for the 2003-2004 school year until after Labor Day.

Supt. James White said the Baldwin School District is looking at starting school two weeks later than the normal mid-August starting date next year because of the construction of the water tower near the new elementary school site.

"My basic concern is that originally, the city folks indicated it would take about a year for the water tower," White said. "If we don't have the water tower completed to operate during the day, we won't have enough water."

The water tower is supposed to be completed some time in August, but an exact completion date is not yet known.

He said because a completion date hasn't been determined, the decision about when to start school has yet to be made.

"It's very iffy right now," he said.

If the tower isn't completed in time, White said he does not want to start school in mid-August only to have to move part of the elementary school after two or three weeks of school.

"I don't want to be in that situation," he said. "I think it would be much smoother to start a little later."

The decision depends, he said, on what the district learns from the city about the progress of the water tower.

City Administrator Larry Paine said the timeline for the construction of the water tower is still not known. It is the hope of the city, he said, to have the tower completed by Aug. 15.

"We don't know that it won't be done, but at the same time, we can't guarantee it will be," Paine said. "These things take quite awhile to build those things.

"We told Jim White that there would be a possibility it would be late," he said. "At this point in the project, it's too early to tell whether it will fall behind or be ahead of schedule."

Paine said the city is waiting on a production schedule from the contractor, which he said might not happen until the first of the year.

"It's really an estimate at this time," he said.

White said the district will be talking with city to get a better idea of the construction schedule, but a decision will have to be made soon. He said the 2003-2004 calendar will need to be put together in the next couple of months.

Paine said the city would work closely with the district to find a solution.

"As we work our way through this process, we'll be constantly updating school officials as to where we're at," he said. "They will have a sense of what's going on."

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