Hawthorn District 73 seeks public input on how to address school crowding

  • Hawthorn Middle School South math and science students work on a project. Hawthorn District 73 is seeking public input on a master plan to address space needs at its schools.

      Hawthorn Middle School South math and science students work on a project. Hawthorn District 73 is seeking public input on a master plan to address space needs at its schools. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 10/18/2016 8:01 PM

As available space in Hawthorn District 73 shrinks, officials are seeking public input on how they should address the issue.

Residents have been invited to learn about the options and provide feedback during a special board meeting at 7 p.m. today at Townline Elementary School, 810 Aspen Drive in Vernon Hills.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Since spring, the Vernon Hills-based district has been working with the DLR Group of Chicago to evaluate current conditions and lead a core group of community members, staff, faculty and administrators to develop solutions.

This session is a follow-up to a meeting in May, when representatives from DLR presented information regarding each of the district's schools, acreage and other data needed to develop an Educational Facility Master Plan for the next 10 years.

The district's buildings are at or near capacity, according to Superintendent Nick Brown. Enrollment has grown the past two years, and that's expected to continue as families with children buy homes and new residential developments are built or proposed, he added.

A trailer was added this school year at Elementary South for two additional classrooms.

Options to address crowding include building new facilities, adding to existing ones or a combination of those. The district also could do nothing.

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Tonight's, the public will learn about some of the concepts and then form groups to discuss and ask questions. An online survey also will be available.

Brown emphasized that nothing is final and that any eventual decisions will have been fashioned with public input.

"These are just concepts not recommendations to the (school) board," he said. "It's a step in the process. The first step was evaluating."

Participants will be asked if they agree, disagree or have other suggestions. The input will considered by the core group as it continues to narrow the possibilities.

"After this, there will be another chance for the community to see what potential solutions are coming forth," Brown said.

The presentation will be available at www.hawthorn73.org/ on Thursday.

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