The first of five new schools planned for Berkeley County School District is still in the design phase, but district officials say the school’s opening needs to be delayed nine months, until May 2015.

Nexton Elementary School, which is planned for the 4,500-acre MeadWestvaco neighborhood planned near Interstate 26 and U.S. Highway 17A was slated to open in August 2014.

“The risk of pushing it that hard versus the reward, I think the correct thing to do is just go ahead and delay the schedule until 2015,” said district Superintendent Rodney Thompson.

The board will hear Thompson’s recommendation at its regular meeting on Tuesday. The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. in the Berkeley County Board of Education Building, 229 East Main St., Moncks Corner.

District Projects Manager Connie Myers said several factors were considered before deciding to recommend the delay: access roads will not be completed until April, with Nexton Parkway set to open in December 2014; utilities will not be in place until June 2014; the engineering review phase faces delays; and the “normal construction time” for school projects is 14 months.

Because the school will draw from several overcrowded elementary schools, Myers advised against opening mid-year, but said a May opening will allow students to tour the building before the summer and teachers to move in.

Reach Brenda Rindge at 937-5713 or facebook.com/brindge.