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By LuAnn Schindler

Summerland students will begin year at new site


LuAnn Schindler | SAM

First meeting • (l-r): Summerland business manager Sally Finch and superintendent Kyle Fink review calendar dates during Monday's board of education meeting in Ewing. It was Finke's first board meeting as superintendent.

Summerland students will start the 2021-2022 school year under one roof.

The decision to set Monday, Aug. 30 as the first day of classes for kindergarten through 12th grade students was announced July 12 at the board of education meeting, in Ewing. Preschool students will attend classes beginning Aug. 31.

After a building update from John Wieser, of Hausmann Construction, Superintendent Kyle Finke presented an amended school calendar.

"I would like to have us all in the same building at the same time and not have to start school with part in one building, part of us in another," Finke said.

During earlier construction meetings, Wieser indicated an additional two weeks would give crews time to finalize the project.

The amended calendar shows teachers reporting to work the week of Aug. 23, although not all five days will be utilized as in-service training.

"Some of that time would be to get rooms ready ... depending on the time frame we're allowed to enter the building," Finke said. Students in grades nine through 12 will report two of those days to assist with the move.

"Those will be teacher workdays and student days. We hope to get everything moved from all three sites and put into one site," Finke said.

Other calendar changes include:

• Sept. 3, a 2 p.m. dismissal, due to a 3 p.m. football game at O'Neill St. Mary's;

• Sept. 29, a 1:30 p.m. dismissal, with parent-teacher conferences set to begin at 2 p.m.;

• Oct. 22, fall break will be eliminated;

• Oct. 29, a 1:30 p.m. dismissal will be in effect, signaling the end of the first quarter. Teachers will use the remainder of the day to work on grading;

• Dec. 21 through Jan. 2, holiday break will remain in effect

• Jan. 3, Classes will resume at the normal time;

• Jan. 14, a 1:30 dismissal will be in effect, and the first semester ends;

• Feb. 16, potential 1:30 p.m. dismissal, with parent-teacher conferences set to begin at 2. This date could move to Feb. 23, depending on the date of the Niobrara Valley Conference speech meet;

• March 10 and 11 will remain set for spring break;

• March 18, end of third quarter;

• April 14, 1:30 p.m. dismissal for Easter break.

• April 18, school will be in session and

• May 26, 11:30 a.m., dismissal and last day of school.

The class of 2022 check out of school May 4, with graduation remaining set for May 7.

The amended calendar will include 90.5 student days in the first semester and 88 student days in second semester.

"Nobody likes to take away breaks here and there, but in order to get the number of days we need and hours, my goal is to be done before Memorial Day," Finke said.

Steven Thiele, who works for Hausmann Construction, said everything might not be completed construction-wise when the bell rings in August.

The auxiliary gym, stage and a few other rooms may not be completed at that time.

"Considering this project was supposed to be done in December and we have the opportunity to possibly be in it in August, I'm impressed with how things have gone for the construction team," Fink said.

Nate Schwager, board member, asked what safety protocols will be in place.

A one-hour fire separation wall will be in place. It includes a metal stud-frame wall with drywall on each side and a fire-rated door.

"It keeps us out of school space and school out of our space," Thiele said.

Hausmann Construction also uses background protocol checks with employees.

"We'll coordinate daily with Kyle," Thiele said.

Finke said move-in dates will not be set until the state fire marshal has given approval.

Candace Hoke said it is "fabulous" we can start together.

"This is the best scenario," she said. "I want to clap. I can't believe we aren't clapping."

Finke said, "If we can make it work this year, then maybe we can get back to normalcy the following year."


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