JOPLIN, Mo. — Some Joplin students will start the transition to their new school, even before construction is done. Kids attending class at West Central and Columbia Elementary will consolidate classes when school starts this fall.

That means West Central will host all kindergarten through second grade classes, and all third through fifth grade classes will be at Columbia.

School leaders say the consolidation will help students and teachers get ready to move into the new Dover Hill school during Christmas break.

“Kind of get the kids mixing – get the teachers in the same building that are working in the same grade level, because right now we’ll have one first grade here and two first grades at West Central. So the teachers don’t get to collaborate as much. We’re hoping that will help the transition as we move mid year next year,” said Bret Ingle, Joplin Principal.

Dover Hill was originally supposed to open in August, but construction delays pushed back the timeline.