PCS approves plan related to delays in elementary school construction

Published 8:37 pm Monday, March 21, 2016

The Pelham Board of Education approves new plan in response to construction delays with Pelham Ridge Elementary School. (Contributed)

The Pelham Board of Education approves new plan in response to construction delays with Pelham Ridge Elementary School. (Contributed)

By JESSA PEASE / Staff Writer

PELHAM— Students zoned to start at Pelham Ridge Elementary School Aug. 11 will begin the 2016-2017 school year in the Valley Elementary School building due to about 10 weeks of delays in construction.

This plan, which was approved by the Pelham Board of Education at a March 21 meeting, will transition all faculty and students zoned for Pelham Ridge Elementary into the new building during the fall break Oct. 10, according to Superintendent Dr. Scott Coefield.

Students and faculty zoned for Pelham Oaks, formerly Valley Intermediate, will begin the new school year as planned.

“We looked at everything from how many internal moves teachers had to make to transportation costs to cost of technology,” Coefield said. “(Of) all those different things, this was the easiest (plan) to understand, and we think the community can get around it.”

This is one of two plans discussed, according to Coefield. At the meeting, the board members and Board President Rick Rhoades all said they agreed this was the best plan for all individuals involved.

When Pelham City Schools learned that Pelham Ridge would not be complete until Sept. 7, Coefield said they had to determine the best possible solution. Delays were related to issues, such as bad soil and weather.

While no plan would be perfect to solve this issue, Coefield said it always came back to utilizing Valley Elementary School.

“Neither plan is perfect by any means,” Rhoades said. “It’s going to take some patience by everyone. I think the plan we adopted is the easiest to get people where they need to get to. It does get one school set up and ready to go, so we can put all our focuses, when the move comes, on strictly the other school.”

Rhoades added that the city and school board did everything they could to get the school ready in time for the new school year. The construction delays were unavoidable, he said.

He said they are not sure how this back-up plan will affect traffic, although the new zoning plan should improve traffic once students move into Pelham Ridge.

The plan is to make the transition as smooth as possible for parents, students and faculty members, according to Coefield and the board.

“In the end, the most simple thing to do for our students, and what was easiest for everyone to understand, was just to start Pelham Oaks just like it’s zoned, and just take Pelham Ridge and (use) Valley Elementary as it’s temporary home,” Coefield said.