SCOTT TOWNSHIP – The Lakeland School District recently announced that it will delay the start of the school year by two weeks, with classes now scheduled to begin on September 14th.
“Construction teams have been hard at work since right after school closed in June,” said Andrew Falonk, Acting Superintendent. “All of the planned renovations have essentially been completed, but there are still some things that need to be finished before we can bring in the students.”
While school was to have officially opened on August 31st for the nearly 1,500 K-12 students attending the district’s multiple campuses, the summer vacation has been briefly extended.
Following a facility study in 2012 that identified various areas needing repair, a $7 million bonded project approved earlier this year has enabled the Lakeland District to now complete the overall project.
The district was first organized in 1968, and the recent repairs and renovations will extend the life of the aging buildings while benefiting all of the students.
The Lakeland School District comprises the Jermyn and Mayfield boroughs and the townships of Carbondale, Greenfield, and Scott. It operates out of three schools, including Lakeland Elementary (K-6) in Scott and Mayfield, and Lakeland Junior-Senior High School (grades 7-12).
According to Falonk, the projects undertaken throughout the school sites have been numerous and major in scope.
“A new roof has been added to both the Scott and Mayfield buildings. New carpeting and hallway tiles have been installed, along with new heating and air conditioning systems. The locker rooms have been cleaned and refurbished and the science rooms have been renovated, new lighting and other upgrades have been made to the high school’s auditorium.
"The driveway and lanes at the Scott building have been repaved and new sidewalks were installed. Overall, the upgrades are considerable, and at this time they have been completed.”
The extra time before opening school was deemed required due to “our concerns about wanting to be sure that each of the buildings is totally safe and sanitary and clean before the students actually come inside,” said Falonk.
“These renovations have been extensive, and the custodial staff is now working diligently to clean the entire buildings and all the classrooms. We didn’t want to force the issue (to open as initially scheduled) only to find a glitch somewhere. The delay gives us a bit of a cushion to ensure that everything will be properly in order for the teachers, the staff, and most importantly, the students.”
Falonk noted that while the delayed start of the school year “is an inconvenience, we’re also working to ensure that transportation matters are also thoroughly in place. And we want to tell parents who need to find day care that everything will work as it should.”
Falonk also confirmed that there will be no delay in the athletic schedule. “All sports in Pennsylvania actually start training in August, so there’ll absolutely be no delays for any of the teams.”
The delay, however, will bump the 2018 graduation day a week forward. “Graduation will now be held on June 22nd next year, just a week later than initially scheduled. And the current schedule also allows us to still meet the 180-day legal requirement of total school days . . . the only thing that could jeopardize this plan is if we have a hard winter and end up using more than the allotted 10 snow days.
"At this point, only the weather could change things again.”