With the village of Schaumburg giving its approval this week, Schaumburg Township Elementary District 54 expects to start work next week converting its Rauch Center for Instruction and Technology into a new Early Childhood Center and expanding the administration building next door.
The $19.5 million project will rely entirely upon existing reserves and be completed by the time early childhood classes begin in August, officials say.
District 54 spokeswoman Terri McHugh said the board of education plans to award contracts at its meeting of Thursday, March 20, and that work could begin as soon as the following day, weather-permitting.
The Rauch Center at 520 E. Schaumburg Road originally was Schaumburg School -- the district's second-oldest building. Used exclusively as administrative space in recent years, its conversion back into classrooms will involve extensive refurbishment and an addition.
The expansion of the main administrative building will house staff being displaced from the former Rauch Center and allow more efficient interaction among administrators on the office campus.
The Early Childhood Center will consolidate in one location two district programs: Early Childhood Special Education and Preschool For All -- Pre-K At-Risk. The programs currently are housed in several of the district's 27 existing schools.
With the ability to serve more than 860 kids, the new Early Childhood Center is expected to eliminate the current waiting lists for the two programs.
However, the district's underused Parent-Paid Preschool programs will be discontinued, having never become entirely self-funded as intended.
The district has lived by the recommendation to keep at least six months of operational expenses in reserves, but currently has nine months' worth.
Even after the new project is paid for, the district still will have 7½ months of reserves left, officials said.