PAXTON — Construction created the perfect storm for Clara Peterson Elementary School students this summer: a delayed start to the 2019-20 school year.
Hold-ups on work related to the renovation and 63,000-plus-square-foot addition to the school forced officials to push back the start of school for all students to Friday, Sept. 6.
“I think it was definitely a wise decision,” said Tara Tighe-Chandler, director of curriculum, instruction and assessment for the Paxton-Buckley-Loda school district. “We needed these extra couple of weeks so that teachers can have time to come back in — everything was cleared out.”
It’s a phenomenon that won’t be repeated next year, now that the work is complete.
Still, the effects of the late start date will be felt throughout the rest of this year: spring break will drop from a weeklong event down to just two days.
The school year will also extend into June.
“Our last day is June 5, pending any emergency days,” Tighe-Chandler said. “It’s not anything too drastic.”
Overall, the finished product — completed renovations and a new cafeteria, commons area, gym and music room in the addition — is worth the finagling officials had to do with the schedule, she said.
“For a small community like ours, it’s pretty impressive,” she said. “It’s bright and airy and colorful. I think it will give our students motivation to come to school.”