Carol Stream schools to transform libraries into 'innovation centers'

 
 
Updated 3/29/2016 4:45 PM
hello
  • Carol Stream Elementary District 93 is planning a nearly $2.6 million project to renovate two school libraries, including one at Roy De Shane Elementary.

      Carol Stream Elementary District 93 is planning a nearly $2.6 million project to renovate two school libraries, including one at Roy De Shane Elementary. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • Carol Stream Elementary School's library also will be remodeled into an Innovation Center with new technology.

      Carol Stream Elementary School's library also will be remodeled into an Innovation Center with new technology. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

Think back to your days cramming for an exam in the school library.

Remember that stuffy smell? The glare of the fluorescent lights? The librarian on patrol?

Unless you got lost in a good read, it wasn't exactly an inviting place.

Two schools in Carol Stream hope to change all that when they revamp their libraries into spaces that foster creativity and collaboration. They won't even be called libraries anymore, but "Innovation Centers," says David Hill, assistant superintendent in Carol Stream Elementary District 93.

"We're certainly excited to provide students the opportunity to transform their learning in a very innovative space," Hill said.

The nearly $2.6 million project will renovate the libraries at Carol Stream and Roy De Shane elementary schools. The latter also will get a new entrance designed to improve security and screen visitors before they access the rest of the school at 475 Chippewa Trail. All of the work will be financed by the district's fund balances.

The school board has awarded a contract to Waukegan-based Happ Builders, Inc., the third-lowest bidder. Two other contractors that offered to do the work for roughly $2.4 million and $2.5 million, respectively, requested that the district withdraw their bids after architects reviewed the scope of the proposals with the firms.

The remodels are set to begin the first Monday after classes end in early June.

Last summer, the district renovated the library at Elsie C. Johnson Elementary in Hanover Park, where students now use movable furniture to work in groups and display their assignments on SMART Boards. Instead of harsh fluorescents, a skylight lets in sunlight.

The district hopes to continue phasing in the renovations in other schools in a "very methodical way," Hill said.

Carol Stream and Roy De Shane schools, for instance, assembled teams that helped pick new flooring, among other improvements.

The innovation centers will each get a so-called "Think Tank," an area that will be set aside for students to work collaboratively and better reflects how they're learning.

"Now the teacher becomes more of the facilitator and the students are guiding their instruction and researching," Hill said.

Like Elsie C. Johnson, the makeovers will add "a lot more color," "a lot of warmth," and new technology, Hill said.

The libraries will reopen as Innovation Centers at the start of the next school year in August. At Roy De Shane, crews are expected to complete the security improvements in late September. Then, visitors would have to be buzzed in through two sets of doors before entering the school's offices.

Article Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.