Love Chapel School students will have new classrooms this fall. The education pods are located between Unicoi County High School and Unicoi County Intermediate School. (Lee Talbert/Johnson City Press)
ERWIN — The start of of the 2013-14 school year for Love Chapel Elementary School students will be delayed by one week.
Unicoi County Director of Schools Denise Brown announced Friday that “due to inclement weather and the amount of rain we experienced the past two months,” the start of the new school year has been delayed for Love Chapel students only.
Love Chapel students will attend their first day of school Friday, Aug. 16, from 8-11:15 a.m. Brown and Love Chapel Elementary School Principal Ben Evely, as well as school faculty and staff, will be available at the new Love Chapel Elementary School location from 5-7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 15. Brown said parents are encouraged to visit the new location at that time.
Throughout the summer break, crews have been working to ready the site next to Unicoi County High School and Unicoi County Intermediate School to serve at the temporary location for Love Chapel. But Brown said heavy rainfall throughout June and July has hindered this work, adding that she was advised by the contractor that a total of 14 to 16 days had been lost due to the weather.
The modular units that will serve as the temporary classroom space are in place, and Brown said crews still need to complete some concrete, paving and sod work.
“When that stuff goes down, it really comes together pretty fast,” Brown said.
Brown also said school officials hope to complete waxing of the modular units and begin moving equipment and materials into the units by the end of next week.
All other schools in Unicoi County will start Friday. This will be an abbreviated day. Kindergarten through fifth-grade students will attend classes from 8-11:15 a.m.; students in grades 6-12 will attend from 7:45-11 a.m. Breakfast and lunch will not be provided on this abbreviated day.
The first full day of school for all county students except Love Chapel students will be Monday, Aug. 12.
Love Chapel students spent the majority of the 2012-13 school year in available space at other schools. A large sinkhole was discovered on the Love Chapel grounds last August, which led school officials to implement a relocation plan that saw students relocated to available space at Unicoi County Middle School and the Intermediate School.
In March, the Board of Education approved another relocation plan in which a dozen modular units would be leased for three years and placed on property adjacent to the county’s Intermediate and high schools. The following month, the board approved the bids for the modular units and the site work necessary for their installation.
Early this week, officials discovered that another hole has opened on the grounds of Love Chapel, which the school board voted to permanently close in February.