District 41 to hire architect ahead of facility decisions

Glen Ellyn Elementary District 41 will begin interviewing architectural firms as officials explore a possible addition at Hadley Junior High and several scenarios to house all-day kindergarten.

The district is expected to hire a firm in early January, ahead of a major decision by a task force of nearly 40 members.

That advisory group is set to deliver a recommendation to the school board on where to house a potential full-day kindergarten at its Jan. 25 meeting.

Though officials say the task force can study other options, the district has raised three: building a new school on 5 acres of district-owned land for kindergarten through fifth grade; building an early childhood center on the so-called Spalding site; or building additions to existing schools.

Superintendent Paul Gordon has said he supports a full school day for kindergarten students - they currently get a half day - to further develop their math, reading and writing skills.

Most of the surrounding schools that feed into Glenbard High School District 87 also offer all-day kindergarten.

At the same time, the task force will make a recommendation on what to do with the 10 portable classrooms at Hadley. The district doesn't have the funds to replace the portables with brick-and-mortar classrooms, officials say.

The co-chairs of the facilities task force - Lori Taylor and Tom Voltaggio - also will get a say on the district's architect as members of a selection committee, along with Gordon, two school board members and administrators.

Taylor lost a bid for a seat on the board in the April election, and Voltaggio served on the Glenbard District 87 school board until 2013.

Thirteen architectural firms have applied for the job and submitted their qualifications, said Rebecca Allard, interim assistant superintendent for finance, facilities and operations. Gordon and other administrators are narrowing the list to four to six firms that will go on to interviews before the selection committee. The firm hired would be considered District 41's architect of record.

The group will rank the top three finalists by mid-December. Then, the school board will authorize the district to negotiate a contract with its choice.

The district has previously employed an Oak Brook firm, FGM Architects.

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