New Construction

Construction Delays Opening of Ky. Middle School

When school starts on Thursday, Aug. 12, students of East Hardin Middle School in Hardin County, Ky., will return to their old building instead of a brand-new facility as originally expected. Officials say construction problems and electrical issues have resulted in the postponement of the new building’s grand opening. Students were originally supposed to make the move in January before COVID-related complications pushed the date to August. Now, the opening has been delayed again.

“We’ve ran into some electrical issues and just haven’t been able to get where we wanted to be,” said John Wright, Hardin County Schools spokesperson.

Alliance Corp. CEO Tommy Gumm cites a current “inability” to complete the work, failing to meet promised deadlines, and delays in finishing aspects like fire alarm systems on the part of the electric company. Likewise, Hardin County Schools (HCS) Chief Operations Officer John Stith said that the deadline of completing the fire alarm system was missed, which pushed the work to a minimum of a week behind schedule. He also cited delays that came earlier in the process, like masonry work.

On Aug. 1, the HCS Board of Education approved a temporary virtual learning option for East Hardin Students. Later that week, the district announced that in-person instruction would be available at the school’s old location.

“The thoughts of those involved with the construction today [Tuesday, Aug. 3] confirmed our fears about a timely certification of occupancy,” said HCS Superintendent Teresa Morgan. “What we heard today means that virtual instruction would’ve taken place for possibly longer than a month. We had hoped the virtual instruction would not last longer than seven days, and we’d be able to transition into the new building. Any construction project, especially one as large as a new school building, always brings variables and uncertainties.”

Officials have not yet provided an updated timeline on when the $24-million building will be ready for students. “It’s just really uncertain right now,” said Wright. Morgan agreed that the district will communicate with families regarding the building’s opening.

About the Author

Matt Jones is senior editor of Spaces4Learning. He can be reached at [email protected].