RADFORD, Va. (WFXR) — The first day of school has been pushed back two weeks for students at Radford City Public Schools because renovations are still underway at some buildings.

The start of classes for Radford students was originally planned for Monday, Aug. 15. Now, the first day for PreK, first grade, and ninth grade will be Friday Aug. 26; the rest of the grades will return on Monday, Aug. 29; and all students will have a regular school day on Tuesday, Aug. 30.

“Our holidays aren’t changing,” Radford City Public Schools Superintendent Robert Graham told WFXR News on Monday, Aug. 8. “We will extend the school day a little bit for both the elementary and high school students, so I don’t see it significantly or negatively impacting our school community.”

Graham says officials are technically cleared to allow students inside the buildings, but they want to clean the schools up first so students can really experience the entire project.

(Photo: Amanda Lee/WFXR News)

The more than $16 million project included repairs and renovations to McHarg Elementary, such as furniture, classroom upgrades, playground equipment, a new gym, and other additions.

“McHarg was built in 1955 and it needed an update and it needed either a new facility or a renovation,” said Graham.

Crews have also repaired air conditioning, worked on a storm drainage project, and renovated the tennis court at Radford High School.

“We’re grateful to have the funding to do these projects but they’ve certainly during the pandemic taken a lot longer than we thought,” Graham said.

According to school officials, they hoped the repairs and upgrades would be completed within the last year and a half. However, contractors say it was delayed about four times, mainly due to supply chain issues and labor shortages.

“It’s been very challenging. You’ve got unprecedented times with the COVID issues, an abundance of materials in high demand and short distribution,” explained Nick Phillips, a general contractor with Avis Construction.

“The price inflation has caused a lot of hurdles to get across, and always dealing with a remodel, there’s always a lot of unforeseen things that we’ll have to do,” Phillips added.

He says his business expects supply chain issues to continue, but does not anticipate anymore delays for the Radford City Schools project.

(Photo: Amanda Lee/WFXR News)

“There’s a wow factor with McHarg right now. It’s a beautiful building,” Graham said. “We want our children and our staff and our community members to walk into that building and say ‘oh my goodness, we’re so lucky!’”

According to the superintendent, workers will be making some finishing touches after the first day of school, but when the students do return, it should be about 95% finished.

While the district is still discussing plans for extended school days, Graham says at most it’ll be an extra 20 minutes per day for elementary students and close to an hour during the week for secondary students.