Call it a construction dust delay.
Thanks to new school construction projects racing to completion across the district, students in South-Western City Schools are getting an extended summer vacation this year.
South-Western is the only central Ohio district starting its 2014-15 school year after Labor Day, with its first day of classes set for Sept. 2.
Last year, South-Western students started school Aug. 21.
Other central Ohio school districts are starting the school year much earlier -- most on Wednesday, Aug. 13.
South-Western's later starting date provides additional construction time on the four replacement elementary school buildings that are part of the district's Ohio Facilities Construction Commission project, Executive Director of Communications Sandy Nekoloff said.
"The decision to start school after Labor Day was based solely on the construction period," Nekoloff said.
It is expected the later starting date will only be needed this year, she said.
"Phase 1 of this project has always had a very tight time schedule and this gives us a little extra time to adjust for any challenges that may have arisen during construction," Nekoloff said.
The first phase includes construction of new buildings for Alton Hall, Harmon, Monterey and Prairie Norton elementary schools.
The move into the new buildings will take place later this month prior to the start of the 2014-15 school year.
Dedication ceremonies will be held at the start of the school year at each of the four new replacement buildings, Nekoloff said.
The dates for the ceremonies are Harmon, Tuesday, Sept. 2; Monterey, Wednesday, Sept. 3; Alton Hall, Thursday, Sept. 4 and Prairie Norton, Monday, Sept. 8. Each dedication will begin at 6 p.m.
In addition to construction of the replacement buildings, phase one includes renovations at Buckeye Woods and Darby Woods elementary schools.
Much of the equipment and supplies were moved out of the schools in June to allow interior and exterior renovations to be completed, Nekoloff said. The equipment will be moved back later this month.
For the next two years, students from Prairie Lincoln, Richard Avenue and West Franklin elementary schools will attend class in temporary swing space buildings at phase one sites while their own schools are demolished and new replacement schools are built.
Prairie Lincoln students will attend school in the old Prairie Norton building; Richard Avenue students will be housed in the old Monterey building and West Franklin students will attend class in the old Harmon building.
Their new replacement buildings are scheduled to be open for the 2016-17 school year, Nekoloff said.
Other building projects completed over this summer include the refurbishing of the tennis courts at Central Crossing, Grove City and Westland high schools; the replacement of tracks at Grove City and Westland and the resurfacing of Central Crossing's track; a partial roof replacement at Pleasant View Middle School and asphalt repairs across the district.
"It's been a very busy summer for the district," Nekoloff said.
South-Western students may be enjoying an extended summer vacation, but the bill will come due at the end of the school year.
The last day of school in South-Western will be June 5 -- two to three weeks later than most other central Ohio districts.