February 13, 2014
The bond issue approved by Delaware City Schools voters in 2013 will result in renovation construction at eight school district buildings, a job that will take three years.
The district has said the work is designed to “eliminate the use of trailers as classrooms; improve safety and security for students and families; maintain our neighborhood schools without redistricting; … and continue a tradition of strong schools for our vibrant community.”
School Superintendent Paul Craft recently described details of the construction schedule to Delaware City Council. Starting in the spring, there will be site preparation for additions at Schultz Elementary, Dempsey and Hayes. Construction may be completed in the summer of 2015 for Schultz and Dempsey. From summer 2015 to summer of 2016, additions would be made to Carlisle Elementary and Woodward Elementary, with phase one of Hayes being done as well. Then in the summer of 2016 to 2017, construction will take place at Conger Elementary and Smith Elementary, Willis, phase two of Hayes, and the transportation center at 2462 Liberty Road.
The work will involve grade changes at some of the buildings.
“This year we’re in this configuration that we’ve been in since 1999, since Dempsey Middle School opened, of a Pre-K through grade 4 at the elementary schools, 5-6 at Willis Intermediate School, 7-8 at Dempsey, 9-12 at Hayes High School,” Craft said.
In the 2015-16 school year, the sixth grade will be added to Dempsey. In the 2016-17 school year, Schultz, Carlisle and Woodward will have the capacity to host grades K-5. In the 2017-18 school year, pre K-5 will be in all elementary buildings, and Willis will be used for administrative support.
Three years of construction and change will create inconvenience, but this work is long overdue.
The school district first identified a need for such renovations in 2003. Two bond issues failed before the 2013 issue was approved, and during those 10 years the problems with city school facilities did not fix themselves. Also during that time, the district’s overall enrollment kept increasing.
More than a decade ago, the City of Delaware undertook a major renovation of downtown sidewalks and streets on Sandusky and Winter streets. That work created genuine financial stress for some businesses, yet the renovations helped create the vibrant downtown that exists today.
In 2017, the Delaware City Schools buildings will have emerged ready for the decades to come, and the wait and work will have been worth it.