Renovations at Dempsey Middle School have been postponed until next spring after higher-than-expected estimates.

Renovations at Dempsey Middle School have been postponed until next spring after higher-than-expected estimates.

Delaware school board members approved the final plans for construction work at Dempsey at their meeting Wednesday, June 25.

All of the district's school buildings are being renovated as part of a bond issue approved by voters in May 2013.

The original design plans for Dempsey came with an estimated cost that was significantly above what had been budgeted, district leaders said. Now, they've gone back to the drawing board, which has halted construction.

Larry Davis, former district facilities and transportation director and current project manager, said the district will reduce the square footage of the original redesign in order to cut costs.

"When we reduce square footage, that means we have to redo the structure and infrastructure of all the design plans," Davis said.

Bids will go out in January, and district leaders hope construction can begin in spring 2015.

"We have to make sure that we have a roof and enclosed building through the entire winter, so this has set us back until next spring," Davis said.

Construction is scheduled to last until May 2016.

Davis said although this has changed the schedule a bit, he doesn't believe it will affect the overall construction schedule for the entire district.

"It's a minor setback and shouldn't change the overall project schedule," he said. "We would rather do it right the first time instead of rushing into it just to meet the schedule's demands."

The first phase of work at Hayes High School has been approved by Delaware City Council, and site work is expected to begin after the last home football game in the fall.

The first phase includes upgrades to the girls' softball fields, resurfacing the outdoor track, installing artificial turf at the football stadium and adding about 100 additional parking spaces, which will be used as construction areas.

All parts of the first phase will be completed this year, except for the resurfacing, which will occur next spring when asphalt is available, district leaders said.

Second-phase plans, which include building additions and more classroom space, will begin after the first phase is complete and Dempsey construction is underway.

Construction at Carlisle Elementary School is scheduled to begin at the same time as the second phase of work at Hayes.