Completion of Miller Junior High School’s modular building for sixth-grade students has been delayed and will result in half of the district’s eighth-graders being relocated to the Stevens Elementary campus temporarily, according to a press release from the Aberdeen School District.
Because of soil conditions, driving the piling and laying the foundation will take longer than originally planned. The Miller Junior High Modular building isn’t expected to be completed for occupancy until October, instead of being ready for the opening of school Aug. 15 as previously thought possible when the construction bid was awarded to Rognlin’s Inc. on May 7.
Henderson added that she has been hearing from the outset that soils in South Aberdeen are notoriously soft and complex.
“We knew it was ambitious, but there are some things you just can’t know until you break ground,” said Superintendent Alicia Henderson in the release. A new occupancy date will be announced when the foundation work is complete, the release states.
Henderson said the plan is to keep all sixth and seventh-grade students at Miller’s primary building for the start of the year, as well as half of the eighth-grade students. This will be the first year for sixth graders at Miller. That’s part of a plan to reduce class sizes and has nothing to do with construction.
The other half of the eighth-graders will be housed in a pod of four outside portable classrooms on the north side of the Stevens Elementary campus, which are already on the Stevens campus, until the Miller modular building is completed, the release says.
Teachers Laura Carle, Matt Harless, Mike Tageant and Sally Holt will be the teaching team that moves with eighth-graders to Stevens temporarily.
The eighth-grade was selected to move to Stevens because the students are more mature and are already familiar with Miller and its teachers, according to the release. It adds that “safe passage” between the two schools for electives and lunch will be assured.
Henderson said the district has a history of successfully accommodating different age groups on a campus for construction projects when necessary.
“I have every confidence that our staff and students will rise to the challenge of making the best of this situation,” said Henderson. “We still have a lot of details to work out, but the final plan will be one that keeps the safety of our students and staff at the forefront, while not short-changing the quality of instruction.”
There’s a meeting planned for Monday, June 16, at Miller’s Student Center intended for parents and guardians, but is open to the community. District staff will share information regarding the project and how it affects students. Afterward, a question and answer page will be posted on the “6th to Miller” page on the district’s website www.asd5.org.