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updated: 4/20/2016 8:51 AM

Construction to improve entrances, science labs in Naperville Dist. 203

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Entrances at Scott, Highlands and Maplebrook elementary schools, science labs at Madison Junior High and an exterior wall at Jefferson Junior High are on this summer's construction list in Naperville Unit District 203.

The school board this week approved three contracts for the projects totaling $5.1 million. Each element of the work relates to one part of the district's master facilities plan approved in December.

The elementary school entrances are being reconfigured to enhance safety by creating a window for visitors to pass in their driver's licenses for a security check before being allowed to enter the building.

The work at Scott and Highlands will cost $2.4 million under a contract with Reliable & Associates Construction Company of Chicago.

The entrance at Maplebrook will be upgraded as part of a $2 million contract with R.L. Sohol General Contractor of Plainfield that also includes improvements to Madison Junior High's science labs.

Science teachers are following a new curriculum aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards. At some schools, teachers have said the more hands-on focus of the new curriculum requires changes to science lab setups.

The final contract approved this week is a $570,000 deal with RB Construction of Villa Park to stabilize the south and east exterior walls at Jefferson Junior High, which have been found structurally deficient.

School board President Terry Fielden abstained from the votes because he works for a school construction company and has said he will not vote on any items related to the district's architect, Wight & Company. Board Vice President Suzyn Price was absent.

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