WAAY31 received a tour behind the doors of the new Athens High School on Thursday, and learned the building may not be ready in time for the new school year. The construction site for the school located on U.S. Highway 31, next to the Athens Board of Education central office.
From the outside, the brand new 58-million dollar Athens High School looks almost completed. However, after walking the halls, the inside of the school still has plenty of work to do. Chris Hamilton is with Athens City Schools, and says the rain has caused problems.
"I know we've had a much wetter than usual Summer, Hamilton said. "It has caused a lot of delays."
Hamilton says they have accumulated almost 50 rain days, halting the construction and progress of the new school. Terri Da Cruz was enrolling her son into the new school when she was told construction may not be completed until around Christmas.
"The secretary that is over there when I enrolled him, said that you will be at the middle school," Da Cruz said.
Athens City Schools said no official announcement has been made about when the high school will be ready to open. Hamilton says if the high school is not ready by August 30th when school starts back, the middle school will be.
"They've been doing cleaning and some light painting of that building," Hamilton said. "...making some more instructional classroom areas in case we end up having to start over there with our students."
There are some rooms almost completed inside the high school, including a new safety area. In case of a severe weather emergency, the entire school will be moved downstairs into a new tornado safe room. The room can hold roughly 2,000 people and includes bathrooms and first aid facilities.
Da Cruz sees the new high school having an important impact on the community.
"You know it's going to help with housing, it's going to help with jobs, it's going to bring us up a little bit more onto the map I believe," Da Cruz said.
She isn't worried about the school. Give it some patience she says, and it will come soon.
"The outcome is going to be fantastic when it's done and I just think if we wait and have a little patience, It's going to get over there," Da Cruz said.
Hamilton tells WAAY31 there will be a news conference on Monday announcing the official plans for when the new school will open.