Grab your hard hats -- preliminary site work for a $28 million expansion has begun at Lincolnshire's Stevenson High School.
Orange construction cones and plastic temporary fencing have appeared near the school's East Building, along with a small hill of dirt. They foreshadow the work to be done over the next two years, which will result in a three-story addition.
"There's a great deal of satisfaction and relief to see work get underway," Stevenson High spokesman Jim Conrey said. "This has arguably been the most talked about and analyzed construction project we've ever done."
Stevenson already is the largest high school building in Lake County at 870,000 square feet.
The roughly 56,800-square-foot addition will include more than a dozen new classrooms, breakout spaces for small groups, science labs and an educational courtyard for special education and fine arts programs.
Plans also include a garden and greenhouse on the roof that will be used by science, art, foods and special education classes, as well as other educational amenities.
The building is scheduled to be done by August 2019, in time for the start of the 2019-20 school year.
The project will be funded with loans and district savings. Officials also are set to receive a $1 million grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation because of planned energy conservation efforts, Conrey said.
As is often the case with a building construction project, the initial work being done now is relatively simple. Conrey said workers are digging holes in the ground near the East Building to move wiring that's already in place -- hence the mound of dirt there.
The foundation is supposed to be laid in early November.
The grassy space directly east of the school will be torn up for that work.
Additionally, some athletic courts north of the construction area will be turned into parking spaces for construction workers' vehicles.
That will ensure parking spots now reserved for Stevenson students and employees aren't lost to the project, Conrey said.
The courts had been used by physical education classes and Stevenson's archery team. Activities will be shifted elsewhere on campus.