Elementary School Status Update

Dear Exploris Families,

As many of you know, many players are involved in any construction project. For the Exploris elementary school, those players have been:

  • our project coordinator – a civil engineer with vast experience working with city staff and various projects, including modular buildings
  • city staff – utilities, transportation, fire, inspection, plumbing, electrical, etc. who review both site and building plans and ensure projects meet all city codes
  • site contractors – the folks who move the dirt to grade the property, set up stormwater basins, and pave the drive (In our case Site Specific LLC, who have been incredible!!!)
  • the modular outfitters – in our case ModSpace, who have their own team of sales representatives, contractors, and subcontractors to bring in the buildings, build the ramps and decking, and connect utilities to the buildings
  • Landscaping crew – self-explanatory, I think
  • Not to mention the bank, the school’s Board of Directors, and the landowner leasing the property. As you can imagine, there are many moving parts here.

Up until yesterday, despite the amount of time it took city staff to approve our plans and issue both site and building permits (after three cycles of review for both), all parties assured me, “This project is going to be tight, but we still think we can have certificate of occupancy by Aug. 14.”

Unfortunately, all of that changed yesterday morning. After a meeting with our project coordinator, ModSpace representatives, and the Site Specific general manager, the project has been pushed back by 4-6 weeks, making an Aug. 18 start for the elementary school impossible.

Course of Action
After much consideration by Exploris staff members and an emergency meeting of the Board, we have decided to keep the middle school schedule the same and delay the elementary school’s opening for the 4-6 week period until the construction project is complete.

Please know that this decision was not made lightly. We understand the inconvenience for families, particularly the 39 families who will have students at both the middle and elementary schools. Many teachers came in yesterday to brainstorm solutions and began reaching out to area organizations to see what possibilities might exist for our elementary families. We called several faith-based and nonprofits organizations in the area to see whether we might be able to locate the elementary students in a temporary period until that time that the elementary buildings are complete. Although many organizations wanted to help us, due to the time constraints and other liability issues, this option was quickly eliminated.

Solutions for Families Needing Child Care
Teachers have also been calling around to determine what child care options might be available to our families. While there are several area “track out” camp options in the triangle, we also have calls out to various organizations to see if they might be able to offer camps specifically designed for Exploris students with discounted pricing. These include the YMCA, Marbles Kids Museum, and Raleigh Parks and Recreation. As soon as we have more information on these possibilities, we will let families know.

At this point in time, we do not know what the start date of the elementary will be. Worse case scenario, according to ModSpace, is that we get certificate of occupancy the week of Sept 15. We will work diligently to announce a start date as soon as we can get confirmation from the contractors.

It is critical, that whatever date is announced for the first date of school, that ALL enrolled students are present on that day and for the first 20 days of school. All of the school’s funding is determined by the 20 day count. Any child not at school on day 1 will cost the school approximately $4,550. Any absences for the remaining first 19 days, results in a percentage funding cut.

Calendars
For elementary students, the Thanksgiving Break, Winter Break, and all early release days will remain the same. Additionally, the last day of school will continue to be June 12th. We will tack on 10 minutes to the school day for elementary students, so that school will run from 8:30 AM to 3:40 PM for students. This will build in a buffer for up to 4 snow days that might occur in the course of the year. If school begins on Sept. 22(again worse case scenario), then the October fall break and the first week of spring break will be make up days for elementary students

Welcome Wagon and Meet the Teachers
The PTO event at Pullen Park this Sunday is still scheduled to occur as will the Meet the Teacher elementary event on Friday, Aug. 8.

Again, I am sorry for any inconvenience this may cause your family. I am also incredibly inspired by the amount of support and the “whatever it takes” attitudes of the Exploris staff. In times of challenge, this community comes together to overcome adversity together. It’s a community that understands that a small set-back in no way diminishes the school’s mission, vision, and values or the impact that we have in our children’s lives.

We appreciate your support as we move forward.

Kind regards,
Summer

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