Mundelein High construction continues as classes start

When Mundelein High School students arrived for the first day of the 2015-16 school year Wednesday, they were greeted by the sights and sounds of construction.

A $23.7 million addition is being built on the south side of the school - a three-story wing dedicated to science, technology, engineering and math education.

Junior Vicente Vargas, an engineering aficionado, couldn't have been happier.

"I like seeing things being built," Vargas said. "I can learn some things out of it, (like) how much time it takes to build a new building."

The wing isn't even done yet, and kids already are learning from it.

The nearly 52,000-square-foot wing is the first major addition to Mundelein High's Hawley Street campus since 1997. It will feature classrooms, science labs, an area for experiments, offices and other amenities.

Construction began in April and is slated to wrap up by the start of the 2016-17 term.

Superintendent Kevin Myers has had a great view of the work as it progressed this summer. The construction zone is right outside his office windows.

"I actually have the best seat in the house for watching the building go up," Myers said. "Within the past three weeks, we've really seen the construction project take shape."

Staff members got a tour of the construction site Tuesday. They walked through what will be the first floor and got to examine the structure's steel skeleton from the inside.

"You can start seeing the second-floor balcony that's curved out front," Myers said. "You can see the hallways."

An estimated 2,100 students and 240 school employees were in the building Wednesday for the first day of classes.

Among them was junior Rasec Chavez, who said she likes the idea of attending a bigger school.

"A lot of people say Mundelein is so small, but with the construction I think it's going to be a pretty nice-sized school," Chavez said.

Now that classes have begun, construction noise will be limited during the school day. Classes near the construction zone might relocate to other space during some tests to evade noise, Myers said.

Work crews may be asked to reduce noise even more for certain circumstances, such as during schoolwide standardized testing, he said.

  Construction work is underway at Mundelein High School as students attend class during the first day of school Wednesday. The project will add a new wing dedicated to science, technology, engineering and math programs. Gilbert R. Boucher II/
  Mundelein High School freshman Michael Parduhn, left, listens to the teacher in computer applications class during the first day of the new academic year Wednesday. Gilbert R. Boucher II/
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