Church Creek Elementary, its groundbreaking delayed for four months for soil tests, is now another 22 days behind schedule because of rainy weather.
That means the building may not be ready in time for the first day of school, Ray R. Keech, the school superintendent, told a meeting of the Harford County Council of PTAs.
"We have our fingers crossed that the school will open on time," Mr. Keech told the 40 or so people in the audience Thursday night. The first day of school is Aug. 30.
The school system had expected to take possession of the school, in order to have time to put in desks, chairs and library books, by Aug. 1, Mr. Keech said. However, unless the construction can make up for the lost 22 days, the school will not be ready until Aug. 23 and that's not enough time to outfit the school, he said.
Mr. Keech had said in the past that he was confident the 600-pupil school would open on time. Groundbreaking of the site, at Church Creek Road and Riverside Parkway, was delayed about four months -- from June until October -- because of soil tests for toulene -- an industrial solvent. The site has since been judged safe.
"This school costs $6 million and will be there for 70 years and we want it to be the best it can be," he said.
Pat Benedict, one of the parents who campaigned vigorously to have the school built, said she was not surprised by news of the possible delay in opening. "Anyone driving by the site can see they are way behind," she said. Parents of children who would go to the school won't let another delay worry them, Mrs. Benedict said. "I'm interested in hearing alternatives, of what can be done if the school doesn't open on time."