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Article updated: 9/18/2013 10:04 AM

Naperville Dist. 203 expands addition for Steeple Run school

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A construction project planned to begin next spring at Steeple Run Elementary in Naperville Unit District 203 grew in cost and scope as school board members decided to address two building needs at once.

For $2.46 million, Steeple Run will be getting a new multipurpose room, a new main office, renovations to the current main office and parking lot improvements to increase safety.

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The original plan called for $1.9 million to build a multipurpose room, renovate some hallways and improve the parking lot. The district decided it would be less disruptive and more cost-efficient to build a new main office at the same time instead of doing the projects separately.

Adding a new main office will give Steeple Run a space similar to offices at other renovated elementaries and free up space in the middle of the building and the learning resource center for other functions, Superintendent Dan Bridges said.

"The intent was to provide opportunities for small group instructional spaces that are currently in the learning resource center and create additional spaces for specialists and small groups," he said.

Small group instruction, some of which takes place in hallways, will be moved to a dedicated area to decrease distractions once the addition is complete sometime near September 2014.

Board President Jackie Romberg urged board members to allow the district to move forward with designs for the costlier main office addition. While some board members asked if a decision should be delayed until after the district holds Future Focus meetings on facilities, scheduled to take place Wednesday and Thursday, Romberg said Steeple Run's need for a new main office and multipurpose room already has been demonstrated.

"I don't want to stop work each time we have a community involvement piece coming in," she said. "It's great to listen, but that isn't going to change the programmatic needs of this school."

Bridges said planning documents as early as 2005 identified the need for improved traffic flow, flexible learning spaces for group instruction and office renovation at Steeple Run. And the district's master facilities plan, approved in 2007, called for the addition of a multipurpose room to be used as a gym and gathering space.

"A number of these things are aligned with future work, but this comes from the previous facility plan," Bridges said.

Wight & Company now will complete designs for the $2.46 million addition so the district can begin seeking bids in January, Bridges said. Work could start as soon as March and would be expected to conclude by about next September.

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