SOMERSET, Texas -

The new junior high school at Loop 1604 near Highway 16 looks nearly finished, but Maury Vasquez, Somerset ISD spokesman, said its certificate of occupancy from the Bexar County Fire Marshal is pending.

“They’re close. We got very close, but we didn’t hit the finish line,” Vasquez said.

However, Vasquez said the district is satisfied Gamma Construction of Houston tried to have the school ready for the first day of school on Monday, as much as five months ahead of schedule.

“They worked seven days a week,” Vasquez said. “They tried to do in 11 months what normally takes 14-16 months.”

But he said they had to stop during the transition from the now defunct Bexar Metropolitan Water District to SAWS.

“A new set of ordinances and guidelines were put in the place for the project and it took a while to come in compliance with SAWS,” Vasquez said.

He said a recent storm also caused a weekend power outage.

Vasquez said the contractor now will pay SISD $500 for every school day the campus is not open.

“Did we expect this? Well, we planned for it,” Vasquez said.

Once the certificate of occupancy is granted, Vasquez said it should take a week or two to move from the original junior high campus where students will have to begin the school year.

Teachers and staff there are now having to decide what to unpack before classes begin Monday.

“We’re going to unpack enough books so that the kids can check out books, but I’m not going to unpack the whole library,” said Mitzi Everts, the junior high librarian.

Nicole Ochoa, a seventh-grade science teacher, said she had several boxes already set aside with needed supplies.

“It’s no biggie. We’re going to make it work,” Ochoa said.

Everts said it will be worth it once the new school is ready.      

“When we get there, it’s going to be wonderful,” Everts said.

Vasquez called the new campus, “the finest place ever built here in our district and we’re excited to move in.”

He said he predicts the school should be ready by mid-September.

For a list of recent stories Jessie Degollado has done, click here.