PLEASANT VIEW — Orchard Springs Elementary teachers packed up their classrooms this past week — spread across five elementary schools — and began unpacking them at their new building Friday.
The Orchard Springs building was scheduled to open at the beginning of the year, but due to construction delays it was not ready for the first day of school.
Though construction is ongoing in one wing of the school, the remainder of the school is now ready to be occupied.
What staff are calling “the second first day of school” for Orchard Springs is Monday, Nov. 4, with an open house for families from 8-9 a.m. that morning. On the first day, there will be a slight delay to the school start time, which will normally be 8:30 a.m.
Orchard Springs students had the day off Friday to allow time for moving.
Teachers had time on Friday and Saturday to move and unpack their materials. Many said they’d continue through Sunday, as will many of the final touches on the school.
Workers were painting, cleaning, assembling furniture and putting finishing up tile work and other elements of the school’s interior.
Floor buffers buzzed down the hallway while pallets of boxes were hauled into the classrooms.
The school’s lead custodian, Brian Staples, said there were at least 60 pallets of boxes that would be moved.
He described his work lately as “a month straight of putting things together,” like book racks, book shelves, easels and towel and soap dispensers.
Staples said he’s looking forward the day when he doesn’t have to assemble something.
When it was clear Orchard Springs wouldn’t be ready in time for the school year, a district team went to work finding spaces for the school’s 380 students at other schools in the district.
The students and teachers were ultimately spread out among North Ogden, Plain City, West Weber, Silver Ridge and Farr West elementaries.
These groups made tight bonds with their host schools, many said.
Bradey Sehiffman, a fourth grader at Orchard Springs, stopped by Straw Market for a treat with her friend Avery Garner, a fifth grader, on their day off from school. Sehiftman was pushing a stroller carrying two baby dolls named Caprice and Everley.
Both girls said they’ll miss their friends at Silver Ridge, but Sehiffman said that the fourth grade teachers at Silver Ridge and Orchard Springs already have plans in the works for the two groups to be pen pals after the move.
With three classes of the fourth grade at each school, Sehiftman said, it’s the perfect match for pen pal groups.
Some of the host schools had send-offs for the Orchard Springs classes.
At Silver Ridge, students lined the halls and handed out orange pinwheels, a symbol of unity from the district’s recent Unity Day event.
“Yesterday I started crying at Silver Ridge,” said Sophie Maag, an Orchard Springs student who had been attending there. “All of the Silver Ridge kids were all lined up ... and they were all singing, like, different songs.”
Sophie was helping her mom, Angie Maag, set up her new classroom at Orchard Springs Friday. She described the experience as “tiring.”
Angie joked that she’s paying Sophie in suckers. Sophie said she was working on a cherry Blow Pop while going through some of her mom’s books.
Angie has taught for 16 years, most recently at Ogden Preparatory Academy, before moving to Weber School District this year.
She probably chose “the hardest step into Weber School District,” she said, laughing.
“But I will tell you, Mary Jo Williams is the (principal) I want to work for,” Angie continued. “I’ve been so impressed with her class and demeanor ... (she’s) in control and knows how to make this whole thing happen. Parents have been happy and students have been happy. ... If it was a hard situation, it was the best hard situation you could be in.”