Round Lake High renovations on time and within budget, official says
A mostly completed gymnasium is among the visible signs of progress for what will be a revamped Round Lake High School in the 2016-17 academic season.
During a tour of the work site last week, Bill Johnston, Round Lake Area Unit District 116's assistant superintendent of business and operations, said the estimated $29 million expansion and renovation remains on time and within budget.
"I think everybody's real excited," Johnston said in the nearly finished gymnasium that'll be used for classes and some varsity sports. "Looking very much forward to the opening of all these new additions next fall. This is a good school. We're making great progress from the educational perspective and this is just going to add to it by providing more opportunities, more spaces for students to collaborate."
The renovations also will provide more space for teachers to work together and should be a boost for the Round Lake-area community as a whole, Johnston added.
Round Lake High was built for 1,370 students, but it now houses about 2,100. Officials said the expansion will bring the maximum capacity to 2,288 students.
IHC Construction Companies of Elgin is leading the project. IHC senior project manager Diane Papenhause said crews are focused on additions that'll include 24 classrooms, a courtyard and four science, technology, engineering and mathematics laboratories.
Plans call for renovations to the existing structure to begin in earnest after the school year ends May 18.
"It gives us great pleasure to build a beautiful facility for a great client," Papenhause said. "Round Lake (District 116) has been great to work with. All the teachers, staff, administration -- they're wonderful. And they have accommodated whatever we needed."
One of the architectural features that's noticeable is a skylight in the main corridor of the new science building. Community feedback led to the skylight's inclusion in the construction plan.
Spectrum blocks within the corridor walls will show rainbows of natural light as part of a learning experience for pupils.
"The community wanted to add more light to the school," Papenhause said.
Another highlight of the new construction will be space for Project Lead the Way, an organization that offers high-quality science, technology, engineering and math programs. In addition, Johnston said a model classroom in the old building should be ready in mid-March with new technology for teachers to test so they are ready when the 2016-17 school year starts.
IHC project superintendent Ryan Johnson said he hopes for a continuation of the relatively mild winter that has assisted in the construction so far.
"It's great with the masonry construction that we have," Johnson said, "and we'll take it as long as we have it. It's going really well."