COVID-19 pushes new Pocahontas school opening back to August 2021

COVID-19 pushes new Pocahontas school opening back to August 2021

POCAHONTAS, Ark. (KAIT) - Elementary school students at Pocahontas planned to move into a new building in August 2020, but now, they have to wait until next school year.

Superintendent Jerry Martens said crews made progress over the past few months, but finishing touches still need to be made.

“When they first broke ground, for the next three months, there were 32 inches of rain recorded on the job site,” Martens said.

The rain prevented the crew from moving dirt and making a pad for the foundation, pushing the August 2020 completion date to January 2021.

Then COVID-19 hit the Nabholz construction crew.

“They would get hit and have to quarantine,” Martens said. “They would come back, and then the subcontractors would get hit, and they would have to quarantine. So, it’s just been a revolving door of COVID. It finally got to the point where we realized that we weren’t going to be able to move in before Jan. 1.”

The job site was closed down over Christmas for the safety of the crew.

With crews now back at work, school officials expect the project to be done and ready to move in by August 2021.

“It’s going to work out for the best for our teachers and our kids,” Martens said. “If we moved in January, they would’ve had to learn all new procedures, ‘Where’re the restrooms, where’s the cafeteria, where’s my classroom?’ It’ll give us time over the summer to get stuff moved, as far as teachers’ personal belongings, and get moved into the building.”

When finished, the PreK-3rd grade school will create a larger and better environment for the students and faculty.

“We’re just excited for what it’s going to mean for these kids and the benefits we’re going to have for 50 or 60 more years,” Martens said.

Martens added that the new building will replace the Alma Spikes Elementary School. It’s unknown what the future for Alma Spikes will look like at this time.

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