It might not look like it now, but Capital School District officials say construction of the new Dover High School will be finished before the first day of school on Aug. 21.

It might not look like it now, but Capital School District officials say construction of the new Dover High School will be finished before the first day of school on Aug. 21.

“We obtained a temporary [certificate of occupancy] last week and are proceeding forth with JumpStart Academy for incoming ninth graders on Aug. 11 and student scheduling nights [also in August],” Superintendent Michael Thomas said via email Tuesday.

There is still work to be done before then, however.

Currently, the roadway from Del. Route 8 to the east side of the roughly 290,000-square-foot school is still being built, the dance room has no flooring, the baseball fields are unfinished, while furniture and classroom supplies are crated and waiting to be put in their proper place.

Despite those remaining projects, the district received permission from Dover officials on Friday to begin allowing the public to enter the building.

A 10 a.m. building dedication and public tours of the new facility are planned for Aug. 16.

But, while the $114.3 million school is slated to be ready in time for the start of the 2014-2015 school year, the city is not expected to issue a permanent certificate of occupancy until October, after the district has completed all its punch list items, including landscaping.

Receipt of that certificate will mark the end of a nearly five-year effort that fully got underway after voters passed a $132.1 million referendum in March 2010.

Assistant Superintendent Sandy Spangler said several factors helped to convince district and state officials that a new Dover High School was needed, most of which centered on space limitations at the 47-year-old former high school on Patrick Lynn Drive.

The gymnasium at the former school, for instance, was not large enough to hold Dover High’s 1,696 students. As a result, the school was forced to hold a separate assembly for each grade level. The school also had three separate cafeterias to accommodate breakfast and lunch for its entire student body.

“Years ago, the state went through and they looked at the age of every building and they have a formula for whether you should rebuild or refurbish,” she said. “Dover High was a school that needed to be rebuilt. It gets to a point where you put so much money in, but there’s only so much you can do to an old school.”

Construction on the high school officially began in May 2011 and was originally set to be finished this spring.

However, that completion date was pushed back due to several unforeseen challenges, including complications stemming from the bidding process, state-mandated road improvements and the extraordinary scope of the project, Thomas said.

“This is the largest publically-bid project in the state,” he said. “It was a challenge for all the teams – construction, architects, engineers, as well as the local agencies – DelDOT, DNREC and the City of Dover.”

Spangler said the new school building offers many benefits over the former building, such as upgraded technology, upgraded classrooms for career and technical education and perhaps, most importantly for many students and staff, it has windows.

“[The former] Dover High School really has no windows except for the outside rooms,” she said. “It’s very dark. It’s very 1960’s style. This school was built for openness and light.”

In addition to windows that look out of the school, the new Dover High’s classrooms also are equipped with windows that look out onto the school’s hallways.

The library also has newer technology, such as chairs with charging stations for electronic devices, classrooms equipped with smart boards, industry-standard cooking equipment in the culinary arts lab, state-of-the-art lights and sound equipment in the auditorium and enhanced security measures that require visitors to access the building from the front office.

The new gymnasium also can hold the entire student body.

“I think a high school is the center piece of a district,” Spangler said. “I think that it’s for more than the school and the staff and the students. It’s for the community. People come together around community events like the high school football game. People take a lot of pride in being a Senator.”