Carol Stream’s Evergreen Elementary looks to add classrooms

Forecasting a growth in student population, Benjamin School District 25 intends to add six new classrooms at Evergreen Elementary School in Carol Stream.

Carol Stream officials on April 16 met with district leadership and architect Arcon Associates for the proposed expansion.

The school district held one community forum on April 2 and will have another at 6:30 p.m. on May 8 at Benjamin Middle School, 28W300 St. Charles Road, West Chicago.

Evergreen Elementary, 1041 Evergreen Drive, Carol Stream, has an enrollment of 377 students in prekindergarten through fourth grade.

Students come from Carol Stream, West Chicago and a portion of Winfield.

District 25 Superintendent Jim Woell said enrollment has grown steadily in the last five years, and a February projection study through 2029 indicated the district will add between 22 and 168 students with a mid-series estimate of 86 students.

The new classrooms, estimated to cost $5.7 million, would bolster full-day kindergarten and half-day prekindergarten, which are capped at 16 and 22 students per section, respectively. Evergreen also has self-contained classes serving autistic students that are capped at 10 per section.

Woell said Evergreen aims to maintain smaller class sizes, and historically this has been accomplished with three sections per grade level in kindergarten through fourth grade. Currently, there are four sections in kindergarten and second grade.

“We are looking to grow over the next five years, and as a result, because we want to keep our class sizes smaller, we’re going to need more classroom space,” Woell said. “We’re trying to plan for the future to make sure we can accommodate this expected increase in enrollment.”

A proposal for six new classrooms at Evergreen Elementary School in Carol Stream would target prekindergarten and kindergarten classes. Courtesy of Arcon Associates

The classrooms would be built northwest of the southern end of Evergreen, said Carol Stream Planning and Economic Development Manager Tom Farace.

The timeline is to extend bids for work in August, with construction starting in November and the new classrooms available for the start of the 2025-26 school year.

The project would require an amendment to the special use for the school through the village of Carol Stream. District 25 hopes to receive village approval by mid-July, Woell said.

“There’s a lot of work ahead of us. It’s happening very quickly, and we want to make sure we do it right,” Woell said.

The Evergreen expansion is part of a capital plan approved by the District 25 board in October 2023.

To fund the classroom expansion, Woell said the district will use existing fund balances and look to sell general obligation working cash bonds. A 2017 bond issue will be retired in May 2025.

“We are looking to go out and sell bonds without raising the tax rate,” Woell said. “We have no plans to increase taxation on our homeowners.”

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