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updated: 1/22/2014 5:50 AM

Mundelein High's $21.8 million expansion closer to reality

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A $21.8 million expansion to Mundelein High School's Hawley Street campus could get a green light from the school board next week.

Officials are considering borrowing about $14.2 million in 2015 to help fund the three-story addition. That would cover about 65 percent of the project's cost.

The rest of the money would come from a state grant that's already been approved for the project.

"It's a gift," Superintendent Jody Ware said of the estimated $7.6 million grant.

District 120 financial consultant Elizabeth Hennessy spoke to the school board's finance and facilities committee about their fiscal options Tuesday evening.

The project was unveiled in November.

The 45,750-square-foot addition would be built in a courtyard near the center of the school. Most of the 24 classrooms planned for the space would be for the science department.

Some classrooms in the existing building would be repurposed into math and special education classrooms and offices, too.

Construction could begin in summer 2015, Ware said. Work would continue while classes are in session over the next year and wrap up in August 2016, ahead of the new school year.

Hennessy recommended delaying a loan until January 2015, so the money arrives shortly before it needs to be spent.

The school board could vote Jan. 28 to accept the grant, which essentially would make the project a reality.

"We have to decide next week that we are going forward with this," board member Joanne Anderson said Tuesday.

If the school board approves the project, it will be the campus's biggest expansion since 1995, when voters approved a $12.5 million makeover.

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