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Construction delays Oconto students' first day of school

First day of school in Oconto delayed due to construction
Posted at 5:41 PM, Sep 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-07 18:41:33-04

OCONTO (NBC 26) — While many students across Northeast Wisconsin have been back in the classroom for a few days, the Oconto Unified School District didn't start the new school year until today.

First day of school in Oconto delayed due to construction

Students at the elementary school were full of those typical first-day feelings.

“I’m mostly excited to meet new friends, and have new experiences in new schools,” said Presley Anderson, a third-grade student.

"Really excited. Not only because I get to see my friends but because of the new school,” said Harper Miller, a fourth-grade student.

The Oconto school year was pushed back due to the completion of a newly remodeled elementary school.

First day of school in Oconto delayed due to construction

"Over here we have our collaboration learning commons for our students,” said Superintendent Emily Miller as she shows NBC 26 the newly remodeled building.

Over the summer, all three schools in the district had remodeled buildings, but labor shortages and supply chain issues pushed back the construction timeline.

First day of school in Oconto delayed due to construction

It delayed the start of the year by three school days.

"When I talked to the construction company, which they've been wonderful to work with, they were really pushing hard to get all three done within the three months. But really it was about six to nine months of work within three months,” said Miller.

The elementary school also changed the location of the elementary school front office.

First day of school in Oconto delayed due to construction

“We had secure entrances where we had buzz-in systems but there were some more access to our general hallways. So we re-envisioned our office spaces so we could have secured, locked spaces right off our vestibule, so there wasn’t access to our main corridors,” Miller said.

To make up for the days lost due to construction, Miller said students will now attend school on November 1, a day that students were initially off.

First day of school in Oconto delayed due to construction

"And barring any Wisconsin major weather, we have some snow days built in so we are able to end on time unless we have a major major snowstorm,” Miller said.

The slight delay is worth it for teachers who say their new collaborative spaces will provide a better learning experience.

First day of school in Oconto delayed due to construction

"We'll be able to do more things together as a big group. Before in our classroom, our classrooms were not big enough so we couldn't really get together. It's so nice we can open our doors, open up our sliders and we can do things together,” said Melissa Sowle, a third-grade teacher.

First day of school in Oconto delayed due to construction