UPDATE: Brookings School Board votes to delay start of school for Mickelson Middle School

Courtesy of Brookings Radio

BROOKINGS, S.D. - UPDATE: The Brookings School Board voted Thursday night 5 to 0 in a special meeting to push back the 1st day of school for Mickelson Middle School students to Wednesday, September 4th.

Mickelson Middle School is in the middle of a $25 million renovation and addition project. But the construction company is behind schedule on it. The contractor said it will now be ready for staff and students on August 30th. With a recommendation from Principal Tim Steffensen, the board voted to have the teachers move in on August 30th, the students will have registration on September 3rd, and the first day of school will be the 4th.

The board's number one concern is for the safety of their students and a good student experience. They believe they will achieve those things with this new schedule they voted on.

"34 years, I've always been excited. I'm more nervous now than I am excited, and I want to be excited to get those kids in our building because that's why we're there is for those kids," Todd Foster said, who is the assistant principal at the middle school.

Many people have voiced concerns about whether or not students will have to make up any time since they are starting later than all of the other students in the district on August 23rd. The superintendent of the Brookings School District, Dr. Klint Willert, said with the new schedule, Mickelson Middle School will still meet the state's minimum requirements of hours in the school year. He said it's not up to Brookings standards though, so they will look at modifying time in the schedule to make up some time.

School board members also voted to approve $19,000 be added to the middle school's budget. It will be used to change out the clocks that were originally requested for this renovation project. The school district wants clocks with just hour and minute numerals, not with a second hand.
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Students at Mickelson Middle School in Brookings may get a few more days of summer vacation due to a delayed construction project.

A $25 million addition and renovation project at the school is still underway and remains behind schedule.

Brookings School Superintendent Klint Willert said there will be a special school board meeting at 5 p.m. Thursday at Dakota Prairie Elementary School to change middle school's start date to Aug. 30. The district-wide start date is Aug. 23.

The project contract had a completion date of Aug. 9. School officials said when it became clear that the completion date would be missed, the district received assurances that the classrooms would be ready before the start of the school year.

Willert says the school district may seek damages from the Gray Construction, the project's general contractor.

Willert says safety and security will remain the top priority for all students and staff.