Construction Delays Charter's First Day

It's crunch time for construction crews at Otwell Miller Academy. The new charter school took the place of the former Otwell Elementary School.

It was shutdown last year over funding problems Now, the new school, is being built right down the road.

But as classrooms and hallways fill up across the Tri-state-- things are looking a little different at the new academy.

"I mean a month and five days ago there was nothing here but dirt, said Mike Houtsch, the General Contractor and member of the "Friends of Otwell" group, "And we got started the fifth of July and were within a week or so of possibly opening maybe Monday if we have to."

After losing the only school in town last year, something; even unfinished, was better than nothing for the small town in Pike County.

"We're not worried about paint or interior trim work. We're going to move in as soon as we can without all the finishing touches done yet," said Houtsch.

Finishing touches aren't what matters for many parents and students. 

Otwell parent Jenny Byrd said, "It's just close to home, you know? And it's special to us, my husband was brought up through that school, and we were just sad to see it leave."

But for parents like Jenny Byrd, being able to send another kid to school, just around the corner, is worth the wait.

"I can't believe and I'll probably get choked up. It'll be my son's first day of preschool and the fact that he's going to get to go to school in the backyard... It means a lot. And the fact that everybody's done what they've done and come together the way they have I know my son's excited, I know I'm excited," said Byrd.

No matter where school is in session next week; the new building, or Weslyan and United Methodist Churches, Byrd says having her son in Otwell is what counts.

"And the peace of mind of knowing how close they are is priceless. I can't put into words how much that means." Byrd continued, "So if they do have to be in the church a little bit while the school's  finished up, I mean, they're still being taught and they're still in good hands. The teachers are the same, the staffs the same, everything's the same except the place."

Mike Houtsch tells Eyewitness News that no decision has been made as of tonight about the location of school come Monday. But both churches have agreed to help where needed.

 

(This story was originally published on August 11, 2017)

 


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