February 4, 2005
Residents of the San Tan area’s Copper Basin subdivision woke Thursday to the sound of workers beginning to pave a fire lane behind Copper Basin Elementary School.
The bulldozers’ revving was welcomed by about 10 parents who gathered at 9 a.m. on the steps of the school to learn if it would open next week after a seven-month delay. They heard it could be ready by next week.
"I find it a little interesting that the earth movers are here today," said parent Sharon Vivers.
Parents nodded in agreement because only the day before they heard rumors the school, part of the Florence Unified School District, might be delayed until March. The school was scheduled to open at the start of the 2004-05 school year.
By the end of the meeting, parents weren’t any closer to learning why the 1,050-students-capacity school remains closed, but did have some indication on when it might open.
The district’s facility director, Mark Gomes, told the parents the school should be ready to open Monday, but the district may take a week to give teachers an opportunity to prepare their classrooms.
Parent Kris Menlove strongly suggested to developer Harold Christ to do something to compensate the inconvenienced students who have been forced to attend school in a cramped Johnson Ranch Elementary School.
"You should really donate playground equipment to make up for the months they’ve had to endure," she told Christ.
District officials said the school has been delayed because developer Mark Stapp had not provided for a proper fire lane or received the proper certification on the septic pump system.
Stapp said he will only take responsibility for missing a January deadline because "the school didn’t even have a roof on it in August."
All the finger-pointing prompted parents to call Thursday’s meeting with the contractors, Copper Basin’s developers and district officials.
"It’s really sad parents have to get upset for builders and developers to care about 900 children," Menlove said.