Arlington Hts. trustees approve Dist. 25 additions

  • Students and parents walk past a new mobile classroom outside Ivy Hill Elementary School in Arlington Heights on the first day of school in August.

      Students and parents walk past a new mobile classroom outside Ivy Hill Elementary School in Arlington Heights on the first day of school in August. Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 9/22/2015 7:10 PM

Expansions at two Arlington Heights Elementary District 25 schools will begin next month after village board approved the district's plans on Monday.

The additions, to help with growing enrollment, will put 10 more classrooms at Ivy Hill School and five more at Olive-Mary Stitt Elementary. Both schools will also get a larger gymnasium and commons space, said Superintendent Lori Bein.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

After some discussion, plans for both projects were unanimously approved by the village board Monday night. Trustee Tom Glasgow recused himself because his wife is on the District 25 school board and Trustee John Scaletta was absent.

"This is a wonderful problem for a school district to have -- we have so many families wanting to move into the Arlington Heights area," Bein said.

Village Manage Randy Recklaus said the village has heard from many neighbors concerned about traffic during and after construction.

"We have 23 schools in Arlington Heights and drop-off and pickup from those schools are among the most challenging traffic issues we have in the village," he said.

At Olive, Bein said most students walk or are dropped off, but the backlog of parents parking on neighborhood streets south of the school has led to complaints.

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To address the neighborhood issue, Bein said they have blocked off Olive's south entrance during construction and will change traffic patterns in the main drop off lane, educating parents about the new drop-off patterns.

"There is a baby boom in my neighborhood and I have heard it is pretty much bursting at the seams so I think this will be a great addition to the neighborhood," said Trustee Robin LaBedz of the project.

At Ivy Hill the bus lane will be expanded to make room for eight buses to pull in from the street, said Bein. Right now, there is only room for two buses while the others line up on a residential street and wait their turn.

At Ivy Hill, where some students are in mobile classrooms this year, Bein said five of the new classrooms will meet an immediate need, while the other five are projected to be filled by growing enrollment in the next three to five years.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Earlier this year District 25 approved issuing $18 million in bonds for construction, about two-thirds of which will be used for the expansions at Ivy Hill and Olive-Mary Stitt schools. Expansions to Windsor and Westgate could come next year.

Aside from more classrooms, the new gymnasiums will allow both schools to run two sections of physical education at the same time and the commons areas will be used for large-group assemblies, parent and community events.

Work is expected to begin in October and be completed by the time school starts in August 2016. Bein said no construction workers will be inside the schools until students are out of school for the summer.

"The architect did an outstanding job mirroring the old to the new here," said Trustee Jim Tinaglia, who is also an architect in town. "I'm a product of District 25 so it warms my heart to see this stuff happen."

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