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The reconstruction of Cleveland Hill schools will finally begin now that the state has given its long-awaited approval, district officials said Wednesday night.

It was the first day back to school for Cleveland Hill students. And by now, officials had hoped the first construction phase of its three-year, $28 million capital project would be nearing completion.

But instead, it's just getting started. For students that means dealing with the mess and noise of roof repair work that was supposed to be finished before school opened this week.

But students would have only had a reprieve from reconstruction work that will continue for the next three years.

"They are going to have noise here for years to come," said Superintendent Laura Sherwood. "They already know that."

Cleveland Hill waited 18 weeks for final state Education Department approval of the plan that was approved by voters last November. The state gave the official go-ahead Aug. 26, clearing the way for bids to be opened and contracts to be awarded Sept. 15. Officials said the work will begin then..

Phase I still calls mostly for outdoor work at the Community Drive property, including a new roof and athletic fields. Masonry and major roof repair at the main Cleveland Hill building on Mapleview is also part of Phase I. However, work at the high school athletic field is now postponed until spring.

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