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SLA, Ben Franklin opening delayed by two days

Nonworking elevators have set back the construction schedule.

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

The much-anticipated opening for the newly co-located Benjamin Franklin High School and Science Leadership Academy will be delayed two days due to “offline” elevators, the District announced Friday.

The elevators are used to transport construction materials and classroom furniture. The $39 million renovations have been ongoing up to the last minute and will continue over the weekend.

Over the last week or so, teachers have been in the building setting up for classes, but the official opening for students will occur on Thursday. The school year opens officially on Tuesday.

District spokesperson Megan Lello said that principals have notified all affected families of the delay. Students will be able to go to the schools between 8 and 10 a.m. Tuesday and Wednesday to be served breakfast and receive their TransPasses.

The entrance to Benjamin Franklin High School is located at 550 N. Broad St. The entrance to SLA is at 1482 Green St.

A District statement said that additional workers will be hired to manually transport materials and that “all efforts are being made to get elevators back online as quickly as possible.”

SLA, a special admission school, had been operating for its 13 years of existence in rented space in Center City that cost $1 million a year. Superintendent William Hite said the co-location with Ben Franklin, a five-story neighborhood high school that has been under capacity for many years, would eventually save money and allow opportunities for the students of the two schools to interact, including possibly on sports teams and extracurricular activities. Students participated in the planning for the co-location.

Families, media, and the public can follow updates on the District’s website.

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