PARKERSBURG - August typically marks the start of the countdown to the first day of school.
For students in Pleasants County that countdown is significantly shorter than many others in the Mid-Ohio Valley.
Pleasants and Tyler counties will be the first in the area to kick off the school year on Aug. 12, followed by Wirt County, which has students reporting Aug. 13. Wood County school students don't start until Aug. 22. Warren Local schools are last to begin the year with students scheduled to report Aug. 26.
School in Pleasants started last year with teachers reporting on Aug. 8. This year, teachers report Aug. 7. Mike Wells, superintendent of Pleasants County schools, said service and professional personnel who orchestrated the 2013-2014 school calendar prefer starting on a Wednesday, allowing three days and the weekend to prepare for students' arrival.
Wells said work being done at Belmont Elementary School will be 90 percent complete as students enter the building. Blacktop work to the loop in front of the school, as well as the back parking lot has been finished, with striping wrapping up this week.
Students and officials will still have to operate around some construction. Wells said some bathroom renovations will remain incomplete, as well as tile and ceiling work in the main hall.
First Days of School
* Aug. 12: Pleasants, Tyler
* Aug. 13: Wirt County
* Aug. 15: Jackson, Calhoun, Roane, Ritchie, Doddridge
* Aug. 19: Federal Hocking
* Aug. 20: Belpre City Schools
* Aug. 21: Frontier Local, Parkersburg Catholic Schools
* Aug. 22: Wood County, Marietta City, North Christian School, Wood County Christian
* Aug. 26: Warren Local
However, work at the school is ahead of schedule. Renovations are to be wrapped up in mid-September, instead of the initial October completion date, Wells said.
"All classrooms will be back in place by the time kids come," he said.
The earlier start date for students insures the school system completes educational services in May, Wells said. Wells noted last year, when the county had fewer snow days than most winters, students completed the school year May 18.
"The way the rules work you are done with school at the end of May," he said.