Arlington Heights approval process set to begin for Dist. 25 kindergarten expansions

Arlington Heights in the coming weeks is set to launch the formal approval process for the first set of Arlington Heights Elementary District 25 building additions that will allow for a full-day kindergarten program.

The timeline includes a Jan. 10 meeting of the village design commission to review architectural renderings for expansions at two elementary schools, Dryden and Westgate, followed by a plan commission public hearing Jan. 25.

The other school in District's 25 phase one work, Olive-Mary Stitt, is set for review by the plan commission Feb. 8.

In total, building expansions are planned at six schools, as authorized by voters in a $75 million referendum last summer.

Neighborhood meetings and an early review of all six proposed expansions by the village's conceptual design review committee, a subset of the plan commission, took place late last year.

Meeting dates for initial and final reviews by the village board haven't been determined, but District 25 officials said they anticipate approvals by April.

That's around the time they would go out to bid on the first three school projects, in hopes of starting construction later in the spring.

Phase two of the kindergarten expansion project - at Patton, Greenbrier and Windsor elementaries - might not start until the spring of 2024, though Patton could break ground earlier.

While costs of the building additions won't be known until then, officials have estimated the 25 new kindergarten classrooms across the district could cost $32.2 million to $42.6 million.

The classroom additions would range from only two each at Greenbrier and Windsor to as many as 10 at Westgate, which would also get a new gym.

Gym expansions also are proposed at Dryden, and perhaps Patton. Superintendent Lori Bein said the extra capacity might be needed at Patton to house three periods of physical education weekly if the state P.E. waiver is eliminated.

At the same time, the district plans to begin its five-year, $34.3 million facilities master plan renovations - also to be funded by referendum bond proceeds - that will include new plumbing, heating and cooling systems, roofing, paving, windows, lighting and flooring at schools and other district properties, according to Ryan Schulz, the district's director of facilities management.

For instance, Dryden is set for a new fire alarm system, playground, gym roof and flooring. Thomas Middle School is proposed to get new air handling units and a boiler. All schools will have improved classroom door security, Schulz said.

But the bulk of the work - at a cost of $8 million - is proposed at Westgate, where replacements of pipes, air handling units and roof sections are planned.

In August, the school board approved the sale of the first set of bonds to pay for full-day kindergarten and other school construction.

The bond sales are expected to cost the owner of a home valued at $400,000 an extra $293 in property taxes a year.

A large portion of the district facility upgrades is intended to be done during the summer of 2024 to align with the kindergarten additions, but various projects will continue through 2027.

The new kindergarten classrooms would be available in August 2024.

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