New Meridian elementary building tardy for first day of school - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

New Meridian elementary building tardy for first day of school

Construction on Meridian Elementary to be completed by next Spring (SOURCE: Rae Daniel/KFVS) Construction on Meridian Elementary to be completed by next Spring (SOURCE: Rae Daniel/KFVS)
MOUNDS, IL (KFVS) -

The beginning of the school year was supposed to start in a brand new building for elementary school students at Meridian Community School District 101, but it's not ready yet.

Construction for the new building has taken longer than expected because of Illinois’ drawn out budget stalemate that lasted nearly a year.

Novella Harris has taught at Meridian for 38 years and is now the new elementary school principal.

Harris will be in Meridian’s newest building which will house students in Pre-K through 6th grade. She’s ready to call the new building home.

“Yes…I am," Harris said. "It seems like we’ve been waiting forever.”

Classes at Meridian started on Monday, but the new building isn't ready because the district didn't receive its money from the state to complete the project on time, requiring the school to use to reserve money to at least keep construction going.

"We wouldn’t exhaust these reserves until probably until another month, month and a half," Superintendent Spencer Byrd said. "So we feel very confident that we will receive those funds until we run out. And we should have more than enough money then to complete our project.”

“Sometimes you feel like it’s not going to happen," Harris said. "But then you see that spark of hope and that’s what a lot of us were praying about, the budget.”

Now, administrators say although it does affect the timeline of when the new elementary building will open, that money is finally coming.

"We have to send in our paperwork to get our final payment and that was about a month ago so we're still waiting anxiously for that final payment," Byrd said. "But the phone calls that we've made,  just follow up phone calls to make sure that the process is indeed rolling, not as fast or as quickly as we would hope it to be but it is rolling and we're hoping to receive our last payment in the next few weeks."

There have been quite a few roadblocks in the path to finishing up this new elementary school building, but Harris says she's optimistic.

“Through struggles and adversity, there’s always hope," Harris said.

School administrators say construction should be completed by next spring, and they'll transition into the building by next summer.

Harris said she’s ready.

“We will have our own building," she said with excitement. "And it will be nothing like, like Dorothy's saying…'there’s no place like home.'”

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