Massive Stevenson High expansion nearing completion

With just a couple of months to go, Stevenson High School officials are confident a roughly $27 million, three-story expansion of the East Building will be completed before the 2019-20 school year begins in August.

The building's facade, dominated by glass, is nearly completed, and plants are going into the ground around the perimeter.

Inside, walls have been painted and some of the classrooms already have whiteboards installed, spokesman Jim Conrey said.

The furniture that'll eventually fill those classrooms and other spaces is on the Lincolshire campus, too.

"However, they'll be moving things in gradually in June and July," Conrey said.

Work began on the project in October 2017. The addition stands on what was a grassy area near the eastern edge of the sprawling campus.

The expansion adds 56,800 square feet to the 870,000-square-foot school - already one of the largest in the suburbs.

The building includes 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.

Solar panels and other earth-friendly features will offset the building's energy costs, too.

"In my 25 years at Stevenson, I've never seen so much thought and planning involved in a construction project," Conrey said. "This will take our school to a whole new level. It's very exciting."

Stevenson officials opted to expand the building to accommodate rising enrollment.

The student population is expected to be 4,600 by the 2024-25 term, up from about 4,300 this past year. Comfortable capacity before the expansion was 4,200 students, Conrey said.

The project is being funded with loans and district savings. A $1 million grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation will help cover the tab, too.

The estimated cost total dropped from $28 million once construction bids came in, and officials say the lower figure remains the target.

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This architect's drawing depicts the green roof that will top the East Building expansion. Courtesy of Stevenson High School
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