Dist. 41 eyes options to handle growth

Updated 2/9/2011 6:54 PM

Glen Ellyn Elementary District 41 officials are wondering if the district's facilities are adequate to handle steadily increasing enrollment.

One option they're considering is building a school on a vacant site once home to Spalding Elementary School. A new kindergarten through fifth-grade facility at First Street between Forest Avenue and Park Boulevard could help ease crowding in schools that already rely on 32 mobile classrooms, officials said.

The district's finance and facilities committee heard a "test fit" plan from FGM Architects this week, but at this point, a new building is just one option for dealing with crowding at the district's four elementary schools and one junior high school, district spokeswoman Julie Worthen said.

"It's not ideal, but it would fit," she said.

The nearly 5-acre site has room for a two-story building with a gymnasium, cafeteria, playground and 116 parking spaces. The building would have four classrooms per grade and room for roughly 600 students.

Two acres of park district land sits just to the north, and District 41 could form an intergovernmental agreement with the park district for use of the land. But the site is on a flood plain and isn't included in potential building plans.

A cost estimate wasn't provided for the Spalding site plan, though any such project would require residents to approve a tax-increase referendum question.

A referendum push for $40 million in district facility upgrades failed by a wide margin in 2007. It would have added fifth and sixth grades to Hadley Junior High School, while paying for renovations at elementary schools.

Officials thought that was one solution to overcrowding, first addressed in 2002, according to Worthen.

The district's enrollment is 3,627.

The former Spalding school was closed 30 years ago when the district faced a plunge in enrollment and tough financial sledding. It was rented out for various uses, including a day care facility, until it was demolished in 1997.

The Spalding proposal is part of a larger master facility plan the district is preparing that will "identify the desired option," Worthen said.