New high school not ready in time for new school year


HELENA-WEST HELENA, Ark. — Where students will be, is where construction work remains unfinished.

The deadline was the first day of school: August 12.

An email from the Helena-West Helena principal to his Central High School staff this week said construction is ongoing and won’t be completed until after Thanksgiving.

“Parents were promised this would be ready,” Andrew Bagley, parent and former school board president said.

He says no parents have been made aware of the timeline changes until he got a copy of the staff email.

“This is a district that’s been taken over twice, people are jaded and so this is just another instance of where promises were made and promises are not kept,” he said.

Bagley and HWH Superintendent Linda English along with other staff members were given a tour inside the new almost 25 million dollar school back on July 22.

Bagley says at that time everything was on track to meet the start of school deadline except for the auditorium.

But English says that tour instead revealed how much work still needed to get done.

“They want the students to be able to walk in that building and everything is done,” English said.

She says the hold up was the rain.

“It has slowed the process down tremendously.”

She says the cafeteria and auditorium need to be completed as well as installing furniture in the 128,000 square foot building.

The 9th through 12th graders will stay where they were last year in the building next door, while 7th and 8th graders will be at Miller Junior High.

“We don’t want teaching and learning and instructing interrupted,” English said.

After working to get the property tax passed in 2016 to pay for the school, Bagley is ready for this to be finished.

“It’s just sad, our kids deserve better,” he said.

The superintendent says they are planning to contact families Monday to alert parents and students of the change- which is just one week before school starts.

The anticipated move-in day is Monday, Dec. 2, after Thanksgiving.

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