Saturday, October 23, 2021

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CMS Delay Confirmed, but Reopening Date Still Unknown

By Jarret Liotta

It’s going down to the wire, but there’s still a fair chance that Coleytown Middle School (CMS) can be reopened for the next school year.

Don O’Day, chair of the CMS Building Committee, returned to tonight’s Board of Education (BOE) meeting to confirm his assessment that the opening will be delayed between four and eight weeks, based on a revised schedule from Newfield Construction, the project management group.

“We’re looking at an opening date that has an October handle, but we don’t know when in October,” he said, calling some delay a certainty.

At the April 13 BOE meeting, school administrators cautioned that while a delay of up to two months was manageable in terms of transitioning the CMS students out of Bedford Middle School with limited disruption, beyond that it could raise challenges.

Asked how confident he was in Newfield’s schedule assessment, O’Day confirmed it had to be looked at as “working document” and that there was always a possibility of further delays.

He said the project’s staffing capacity, which had hovered around 30% for the past several week, had increased to nearly half and continued to improve.

He said, however, “Everything could change, should attendance fall off or should there be an additional wave” of virus cases.

O’Day said he will provide more details to the BOE on May 4.

He said there have been additional challenges throughout the project in terms of minor delays, but none that would have warranted pushing back the opening at the end of August.

He noted some surprises that have been found in walls when construction crews have opened them up, but said these were all dealt with on a case-by-case basis and remediated in a timely fashion.

“Overwhelmingly, it is COVID-19 issues,” he said, that are causing significant delay, “and that is the unknown variable.”

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