MOT Charter School won’t be opening its new $13 million high school next fall, as originally planned.

MOT Charter School won’t be opening its new $13 million high school next fall, as originally planned.

“There was a concern that we weren’t going to be able to start construction in time to have it completely finished by the start of next school year,” Head of School Linda Jennings said this week. “And that’s a situation we wanted to avoid.”

Despite the setback, Jennings said MOT Charter will proceed with its plans to launch a ninth-grade program this fall. Those classes will now held in a six-room modular building that will be added to its Levels Road campus this spring.

Meanwhile, tenth-grade classes won’t be added until the start of the 2015-2016 school year, at which time the 77,360-square-foot high school proposed off Cedar Lane Road should be ready to open, she said.

“We know we had tenth-graders who were interested in enrolling next fall that are disappointed by this decision,” Jennings said. “But we felt it was better to wait until the following year, rather than trying to move so fast that we risk not having a great start when the building does open.”

The state Board of Education approved MOT Charter’s request to add ninth through 12th grades in June.

That same month the school submitted architectural designs and a subdivision proposal to New Castle County’s department of land use, with the hopes of winning the necessary approvals in time to break ground in October.

While the department has completed a review of those documents, MOT Charter’s high school construction proposal has yet to be scheduled for a hearing before the county planning board.

“We’re now hoping to break ground next spring,” Jennings said this week. “Hopefully, that should give us plenty of time to have everything in place.”

If approved, the new high school would house two separate academies – one devoted to the arts and the other to science and technology.

In its first year, the high school is expected to house 188 ninth- and 10th-graders in each academy, for a total of 376 students. The school would then add 11th grade in 2016 and 12th grade in 2017, by which point the student body would reach 750.

That would more than double the total enrollment at the 10-year-old charter school, which currently has about 675 students at its K-8 program on Levels Road.

Jennings said the school is proceeding with its plans to hire eight of the 24 high school teachers it plans to have in place before the new building opens.

Those teachers will staff six classrooms in the modular building that will temporarily house the 188 members of MOT Charter’s inaugural ninth grade class.

Jennings said the school still plans to provide those students with extra-curricular activities, such as sports, performing arts, math league and other programs to be determined by student interest.

MOT Charter has four upcoming informational sessions planned for students interested in enrolling in the school’s inaugural freshman class and their families.

Those meetings will be held from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the following dates and locations:

Tuesday, Oct. 22 – Bear Public Library at 101 Governors Place in BearThursday, Oct. 24 – MOT Charter at 1156 Levels Road in MiddletownTuesday, Oct. 29 – Providence Creek Academy at 273 W. Duck Creek Road in ClaytonMonday, Nov. 4 – Newark Senior Center at 200 White Chapel Drive in Newark