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updated: 7/14/2014 6:25 PM

Closing one of three schools is an option in District 76 building study

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Mundelein-based Diamond Lake Elementary District 76 is seeking community input as it considers options for improving its school buildings.

One option could involve a reorganization in which Fairhaven School, serving pre-K and first-graders, would close.

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"It would be a consideration. That's just one thing on the table but it's the one that would require the most lead time and change," school board President Lisa Yaffe said.

Based on the interest received, members of the school staff and community and representatives from the architectural firm Fanning Howey will form a visioning committee to create a plan.

A statement of interest and contact information should be emailed on or before July 25 to Colette Ford, assistant superintendent for business operations and human resources, at cford@dist76.org.

An assessment last fall of the district's three schools -- Fairhaven, West Oak Middle and Diamond Lake -- showed it would cost about $13 million during the next 10 years to keep the buildings operational, Ford said.

The visioning committee would assess the current building needs for education today, compared to decades ago when the schools were built, Ford said.

Yaffe said that will involve determining what the district needs in the long term and how the improvements would support curriculum and technology.

Expanded and enhanced changes in technology, curriculum and assessment are ongoing in District 76, and the district wants to design an "optimum learning environment."

During its business meeting Tuesday, for example, the board is scheduled to vote on advancing a $675,434, one-to-one technology program that would provide all teachers and students with computing devices. Pending approval, that would be implemented gradually during the 2014-15 school year.

"We are open to what solution will get us the best use of the money, creating the learning climate we want. Where should we invest?" Yaffe said of the visioning committee.

She said a reconfiguration would be pursued only if the long-term financial impact makes sense.

"We've got to do something," Yaffe said. "We have to invest in some way."

The first meeting is scheduled for Aug. 26, with the goal of completing the work by the end of October, Ford said.

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