Eastview Education Center start to be delayed by two days

The Eastview Education Center will get a two-day late start on the school year this September, as construction lags just a bit behind the expected pace.

The Monticello School Board approved the change in the schedule at its Aug. 7 meeting, pushing the official Eastview Education Center start date from Tuesday, Sept. 5 to Thursday, Sept. 7. Thursday Sept. 7 and Friday, Sept. 8 will be “Welcome to School Days”, with the first day of school being scheduled for Monday, Sept. 11 at Eastview.

Superintendent Jim Johnson presented the issue to the board at the Monday night meeting.

“Everything is pretty much on time and where we expected it to be, except Eastview,” said Johnson.

The outgoing superintendent said the work at Eastview, which will be home to Monti’s kindergarten and pre-school students beginning this fall, got off to a late start and has not been able to catch up, despite what he called “incredible” help from the staff in that building in the spring.

Teachers are scheduled to come in to the building on Aug. 28, and Johnson said the district believes that date will still work. But with cabinets still being installed that week, and construction going on at the school, the district administration didn’t feel teachers would have enough time to adequately prepare for the school year in the redone building if they didn’t push the start date back a couple of days.

“There’s a lot of pressure that we’re putting on those people,” said Johnson. “We just feel like we need to make a decision to provide another couple of days.”

Johnson did say it was possible that construction would move at a rapid pace in the coming weeks and that the start date could be moved back up, but he didn’t think it would be fair to families to wait another two weeks to make a decision.

Eric Olson, the principal at Eastview Education Center, said having the extra time would be beneficial in helping staff adjust to the new building and be prepared for the start of the school year.

“We need time for staff development,” he said. “We’ve never done a fire drill, we’ve never done a tornado drill – we have to be ready to keep children safe.”

Olson also told the board that the delay, and the headaches that have came with it, will all be well worth it in the near future.

Olson said he was on a tour of the building at the beginning of the month, when the foreman asked him why he was walking around with a big smile.

“I said, ‘I’m smiling because I don’t think people are going to realize what an awesome building this is until they walk through those doors,’” said Olson. “It’s truly going to be one of the neatest schools you’ve ever seen in the state of Minnesota.”

Following discussion, boardmember Robbie Smith made a motion to change the start date from Sept. 5 to Sept. 7, as requested by Johnson. The motion was seconded by Jeff Hegle and it carried 6-0.

Contact Clay Sawatzke at [email protected]