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updated: 5/15/2014 4:15 PM

Last chance to reminisce planned for Pleviak alumni

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  • Lake Villa Elementary District 41 is finalizing plans to close Pleviak Elementary School. An alumni open house celebration is planned for June 3.

      Lake Villa Elementary District 41 is finalizing plans to close Pleviak Elementary School. An alumni open house celebration is planned for June 3.
    Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

By Megan Swindell

When the school year ends June 9 in Lake Villa, it will also close the book on Joseph J. Pleviak Elementary School and its more than 100-year history.

But before that happens, Lake Villa Elementary District 41 officials plan to give alumni a chance to celebrate its history and say goodbye during a June 3 open house at the school at 304 E. Grand Ave. The event will be from 5 to 7 p.m.

"It will be the last chance for alumni to reminisce on their old times here," Principal Scott Klene said.

The event will include displays of items, such as old attendance books and school records. The auditorium will host previous school bands and the classrooms will be open to tour.

"The interest has been pretty widespread," Superintendent John Van Pelt said. "Having an open house celebration seemed like the appropriate thing to do because there has been a school on that corner for over 100 years."

Pleviak was originally called the Lake Villa School when it was built in 1910. The name was later changed to Central School.

The school was renamed again in honor of Joseph J. Pleviak, who retired as the principal in 1971. He taught history and math at the school from 1954 to 1970 and was the principal from 1970 to 1971.

Van Pelt said the school is closing because of finances and the changing demographic that has caused an overall enrollment decline.

There will be a significant change in the public school system as the Lake Villa community shifts from four elementary schools to three, he said.

"We've been at this for two years as far as planning the closing," Van Pelt said. "We have had very active transition committees made up of about 50 people representing the community, teachers, parents and students."

Van Pelt said the remaining three elementary schools will be at full capacity next academic year.

"Over the next two, three or four years, the class sizes will drop again," he said. "We've determined this based off the demographics, and we will have the trends updated every year."

The past demographics are what Klene said he hopes to bring together one last time.

"We have had multiple generations that have gone through this school," he said.

The building has prospective tenants, but Van Pelt does not want to comment about those plans until the decision has been finalized. He said a lease will probably be approved in June.

"The building will be used," he said. "We are very happy about that."

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