Vernon Elementary School

Despite the best efforts of all the companies involved in the construction of the new Vernon Elementary School, Vernon ISD officials announced Monday students will not start the 2023-24 school year at the new campus.

“These days supply chain issues get blamed for a lot of things, but that’s exactly what happened in this case,” said Blaise Boswell, VISD Assistant Superintendent. “We’ve ran into snags with waiting on several items that affected multiple projects on the construction timeline.”

So, on Aug. 16, the first day of school, second and third graders will report to Central Elementary School, while fourth and fifth graders will report to Shive Elementary School, just as they have done for many years. The news was delivered to Central and Shive teachers on Tuesday.

“They were disappointed just like everyone else,” Boswell said of the teachers. “All of us wanted to start the school year in the new school building. That was the goal. Gallagher Construction and WRA Architects have been great to work with. Gallagher, all the project subcontractors and the district did all we could to make that happen. Unfortunately, it just isn’t going to happen.”

Boswell said there is a chance the building could be ready by Labor Day, and teachers from both campuses have had input on when the move takes place.

“The teachers decided they want to make the move during our five-day weekend in October (Oct. 5-9). Our plan will be for students to walk out of Central and Shive Wednesday (Oct. 4) afternoon and walk into the new building when they return to school on Tuesday (Oct. 10),” Boswell said.

While the new elementary school will not be ready on the first day of school, Vernon High School will be ready to go. With the elementary school not able to meet the start of school deadline, some workers from that project have pulled to work at the high school to ensure it will be ready to go. A new library/media center was added onto the high school, and renovations to the school office area and the front of the building are being completed.

In November of 2022, Vernon voters approved a $40 million bond for the new Vernon Elementary School and the renovations at Vernon High School.

“We appreciate the confidence Vernon residents showed in this district when they approved that bond,” VISD Superintendent Dr. Kermit Ward said. “I’m sure they’re disappointed, just like all of us are, that we will not start the school year in the new elementary school. But, that new building is like the Taj Mahal of schools. It is something we want our residents to be proud of, just like we are, and we don’t want to rush anything, or compromise on anything, just for the sake of starting the school year in that building.”