Due to an excessively rainy season, the new Forest Oaks Elementary School in Chelsea will not be completed in time to open when school resumes on August 19. Construction of the school has been hampered by over 50 days of lost time due to rainfall in excess of 100 inches.
Students and faculty of Forest Oaks will utilize the current Chelsea Intermediate facility to start the school year. This campus previously served over 1,200 K-5 students when it housed Chelsea Elementary School. It will be used until Forest Oaks, which will serve 712 students, opens this fall. A specific date for the opening of the facility will be announced later this summer. Students who are zoned for Mt Laurel and Chelsea Park Elementary schools will not be impacted by the delay to Forest Oaks.
“The building must pass all inspections, as well as all safety measures, before it can open,” said Superintendent Randy Fuller. “We understand the concerns of our parents and faculty with this delay, however, the safety of students and faculty, and the successful completion of Forest Oaks are very important.”
A new road for Forest Oaks which is currently under construction off of County Road 47 will be completed by August 19. The new road, Hornet Drive, will give parents and faculty an additional point of access to the existing Chelsea Intermediate School and will improve traffic flow.
The 91,000 square foot facility will have electronically controlled access at the main entry, a full competition gym, music classroom, art suite, and computer lab in addition to 50 classrooms. It meets new state building codes requiring schools to have mandatory safe spaces that can be used as storm shelters. The storm shelter can accommodate 1,300 people and is designated to withstand 250 mph wind speeds.
“We share in the disappointment that the new facility will not be ready in time to open school,” said Fuller. “We appreciate the Chelsea community’s patience as we deal with these unforeseen circumstances and strive to complete the project as quickly as possible.”