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Middle School Won't Be Ready for First Day of Classes

But district officials expect students will occupy the building by late fall.

A group of parents had the chance to learn more Thursday about the school construction and where the project stands for the beginning of next school year.

Joseph Marrone started out by telling parents with the Middle School Home and School Association who gathered at the  that there is no definitive answer at this point, while assuring them that the building will be ready for students sometime in the late fall, possibly after the holidays.

"The big question, I don't have the answer yet," he said.

Marrone, director of administrative services, who is overseeing the project, said the construction portion of the work is about 68 percent complete, according to construction-based measurements.

Once construction is complete also comes the job of cleaning the building, stripping the floors, sealing and waxing, moving furniture, giving teachers time to pack and unpack. The building must also pass a final inspection for an occupancy permit.

"It's all part of the process," Marrone said.

The school board last summer, after falling behind on schedule due to that came in over budget.

Plans were to have the renovations completed before the first day of school on Sept. 5, but district officials are now confident that won't happen and have spelled out that could come into play. [See the PDF attached to this article.]

“Unforeseen issues have necessitated a careful review of our projected timeline,” Superintendent Joseph Clapper said in a letter sent to parents in late March.

Sections that may not be ready by September include the two additions that will house the and new auditorium wing.

If the building isn’t complete, kindergarten pupils would stay at Elementary for the full year. Sixth-graders would remain at Elementary, where they have been for the past school year. Seventh- and eighth-grade students would stay put at Anthony Wayne in Ambridge, according to school officials.

Parents raised a variety of questions that included the new timeline, security features, the food preparation area in the cafeteria and the future potential for middle school students having to deal with yet another renovation project in their junior and senior year of high school.

Marrone said none of the middle school students would again be affected because any high school renovation would be at least five to six years out at minimum.

 “There would be lots of planning between now and then, but no actual work like you see at the middle school,” he said.

As for security features, Marrone told parents that cameras are located all around the front of the middle school building and in the stairwells, not to mention fire doors.

A mousetrap at the entrance of the building will require a person to visit the office before heading into the rest of the building. Authorized personnel will be able to swipe an identification card to get in.

Marrone said the building won’t have metal detectors based on a risk analysis that shows it’s not necessary for the school population.

Principal Sean Aiken told parents, who were gathered for the final meeting of the year, that they should have complete confidence with Marrone on the job.

“I don’t think people fully appreciate what it means…to have a person like Dr. Marrone on staff... I’m confidant, completely confidant that whatever Dr. Marrone puts his mind to, it’s going to be well done,” Aiken said.

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Stay up to date with the district's middle school renovation blog at: qvmsrenovations.blogspot.com/

Correction: Seventh and eighth-grade students will remain at Anthony Wayne in Ambridge until the Graham Street school is ready. An earlier version of the story said students would be moved to various buildings in the district. 

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