LARKSVILLE – Contrary to rampant rumors, classes will begin Tuesday in the Wyoming Valley West School District, including at the expanded State Street Elementary Center.
With work continuing day and night at State Street, district Superintendent Chuck Suppon said Thursday he expects to receive a certificate of occupancy from the project engineering firm and Larksville borough to open the facility on time.
"It's going to happen," Suppon said of meeting the scheduled opening date. "And our top priority is the safety of our students and employees."
Tom Festa, project architect for A&E Group of Plains Township, said he expects the certificate of occupancy to be issued this morning.
"We should have it Friday and school will open Tuesday as scheduled," Festa said.
The $28 million project has expanded the elementary center from 50,000 square feet to 150,000 square feet, said Ken Harner, project manager for Miller Brothers Construction of Schuylkill Haven. Between 120 and 150 workers are on the job putting the final touches on the building. In recent days the parking areas have been paved, sidewalks completed and classrooms stocked.
Suppon discounted rumors that the district would postpone the opening of school.
"Those rumors have been started by people who are just saying in their own estimation that school will not start and that's simply not true," he said.
Harner and Festa said the school will be "substantially complete" when students arrive Tuesday. He said cosmetic items need to be finished, but that work will be done after 4 p.m. on school days. Harner said the cafeteria will be open, but students will be served hoagies and sandwiches for two weeks until all equipment for meal preparation is installed and functioning.
Suppon said 14 additional cleaning people have been assigned to State Street to get the building spic and span for the first day. Suppon said nearly 100 people will be working in the school, which will have a capacity of 1,200 students, double the former number, in grades kindergarten through fifth.
Work on the exterior, such as landscaping, will be completed after school starts. Suppon said the athletic fields at the rear of State Street will be addressed at a later date.