School-year delayed up to 10 days for Westwood Elementary

Bob Graalman, right, Stillwater Public Schools school board president, looks on as Superintendent Marc Moore discusses delaying the start of the school year for Westwood Elementary Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019 during a regular monthly board meeting. (David Bitton/For the News Press)

Students eager to walk the halls of the new $26 million Westwood Elementary School will have to wait at least one week after the Stillwater Public Schools Board of Education voted to authorized the superintendent to delay the start of the school year for the one site for up to 10 school days.

All other Stillwater Public Schools sites will start the academic year as scheduled on Monday.

Wet weather was specified as a major reason the project was not completed on time.

Superintendent Marc Moore said the earliest Westwood students would start school is Aug. 26.

The district exceeds the 1,080-hour instruction requirement by 10 school-days, meaning Westwood students wouldn’t necessarily need to make up any time.

But Moore did note that the loss of an instructional week is a big deal.

Mark Pruitt, the owner’s representative for the Westwood construction project, said crews are working hard to complete projects in a timely manner.

Interior work is wrapping up, but needs to be signed off on later this week or early next week before teachers can start getting their classrooms ready.

The exterior still needs a lot of work, including paved parking lots and sidewalks.

Moore and the school board agreed they want the building to be safe for students and staff before they come back.

Principal Darren Nelson also wants to make sure his teachers have time to prepare their classrooms for the school year.

“We want to provide adequate time to our teachers so that they can have the rooms ready for our students,” Nelson said.

Moore plans to be in communication with the board and Nelson this week and early next week about construction updates. Once a firm start date for the school year is finalized, it will be communicated to Westwood parents and personnel.