Last updated: August 25. 2013 3:25AM - 71 Views

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There's no waiting for Labor Day this year, with most area schools opening well before the holiday that traditionally marks the end of summer vacation.“I think more and more, you're going to see this,” said Suzanne Darmer, superintendent of Ada schools, which opened Wednesday — a full 19 days ahead of Labor Day. A few other area districts are already in session, including Upper Scioto Valley and Ridgemont.“It's the same number of days” in the school year, Darmer said. “I think we all just look at our calendars from year to year and make an attempt to settle on the days that will work most appropriately for that given school year.”Earlier generations traditionally started school after Labor Day to enable children to work a longer summer on family farms. But there are fewer farms today, and modern, technology-driven agriculture has eliminated many of the chores once performed by children. And air conditioning makes classrooms comfortable even in the dog days of August.Only one district is waiting for the traditional start: Crestview Schools will roll out the buses and book bags on Sept. 7, and with good reason: the district is wrapping up a multiphase renovation.“Even though our start to the school year was delayed due to the renovation project and there are still some challenges to overcome because of site work and punch lists, we are excited about the opportunities this school year presents,” Crestview Elementary School Principal Kathy Mollenkopf said in a message on the school district's website.Other districts are beginning comparatively late, also for construction. They include Columbus Grove, which begins Sept. 1. The district is erecting a new high school and elementary school alongside its existing buildings and is renovating the middle school.“There needed to be renovations to our kitchen and dining room areas, so when we set up our schedule last year, we extended our summer a little bit,” Superintendent Robert T. Jennell said. “Normally, we would start probably the third or fourth week of August, like many other schools do, but this gave them an extra 10 or so workdays and to get the permits and certificates we need to operate our kitchen.”Jennell said the renovations would be done on time. Freezers were being turned on Friday and food was to be delivered next week, he said.“We just met with the county health department on Wednesday. We turned in our lunch menus for them to look over to make sure everything's good there,” Jennell said. “September 1st, we should have our first meal in that new kitchen.”With ongoing construction, Jennell said, the district will continue to ask its faculty and pupils to stay flexible as they did last year while conducting classes in a construction zone.“You're going to hear drills outside your room. You're going to hear cranes, you're going to hear the beeps from the backing trucks, and with all that happening, we focused on being flexible and being understanding with the kids and explain things,” he said. “That went over real well and out kids became part of the project. That made things go really well.”Construction is on the agenda for Van Wert schools as well, but instead of starting late to finish a project, the district is starting a little early to get a jump on next summer.“We have an elementary building that is going to be renovated next summer and into the fall,” said Superintendent Ken Amstutz. “The [Ohio School Facilities Commission] and our construction manager requested that we start the work as early at possible.”Van Wert's calendar will be very different the following year.“We won't be anywhere near opening. We'll open well after Labor Day” in 2012, Amstutz said. “We're going to be in the same boat as Crestview.”

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