Construction this summer is adding multipurpose space, improving security and updating science facilities at three schools in Naperville Unit District 203.
The projects cost a total of $5,684,000 for work at Steeple Run Elementary, Naperville North High School and Madison Junior High.
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Steeple Run's work is the largest project at $2.7 million, and it's not scheduled to be complete until September.
The 38-year-old school is getting a new multipurpose room, an expanded main office, more small-group instruction spaces in the library and changes to the front entrance to improve security.
Karen Currier, who retired as Steeple Run principal after last year, said the addition will give students and teachers "space to spread out" during lunch, after-school programs and small-group sessions led by occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, social workers and English language instructors.
At Naperville North, workers have been updating a chemistry lab that used to be an art room, installing new heating pipes and replacing ducts for the school's heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system for a total of $2.2 million.
The first-floor chemistry lab is the fifth science room at Naperville North to be updated during the past three years.
"We're just really updating this lab and allowing the students to have a true chemistry experience," said Michele Chapman, assistant principal for curriculum and instruction.
The room will be outfitted with electrical power outlets hanging from the ceiling instead of only from wall sockets. It also will get its own distilled water tank so teachers can remove particles from water to be used in experiments.
"It's exciting because we filled in a wall that was all windows, and we were able to put in more lab spaces," Chapman said. "We have lab stations along the perimeter and then we have desks in the middle, and that way there's more space for the students to go into lab or move quickly from instruction to lab to instruction."
The third school under construction this summer is Madison Junior High, where a front canopy is being added to create a vestibule. District officials said the $769,000 addition will enhance security and energy conservation. Madison's main office also will be renovated, which will increase security by stationing the school resource officer closer to the front door.