First Blueprint 220 presentation held at Countryside Elementary
Barrington Area Unit District 220 launched the first of a dozen community meetings Monday night to address potential building upgrades across the school system.
Countryside Elementary School, which serves kindergarten through fifth grade, was the venue for the first localized version of the Blueprint 220 presentation. Blueprint 220 is a long-term strategy to provide recommendations on school renovations to meet today's education needs, in part through flexible spaces and better technology.
Superintendent Brian Harris said it's hoped a final master plan for the Blueprint 220 initiative will be ready within six months. School board members will be responsible for selecting the projects and how to pay for them.
There are several tentative ideas on how to upgrade Countryside Elementary. They include flexible learning spaces and furniture, creation of an outdoor learning area, an improved kitchen for better food choices and a sensory room.
Book nooks where students can read, community tables where children would collaborate on projects, and other flexible spaces would be expected to lead to better academic performance, said Kelly Pinta, an instructional digital age learning coach who works with teachers.
"We talk about flexible seating, but what we're really doing is creating flexible thinkers," Pinta said.
School board members are to hold a panel discussion Nov. 7 with those involved in the Blueprint 220 planning process. Chicago-based DLR Group, an architecture consultant, has studied the condition of District 220's buildings and examined how they are used for education.
District 220's director of fiscal services and asset management, LeeAnn Taylor, said she and other administrators went through a rigorous process before selecting Chicago-based DLR Group about 14 months ago.
Taylor noted DLR employees followed students through their day and charted how much time they spent in classrooms and other areas and what they did there. She said the district reached the point where officials can present information and seek community input for possibilities and alternative ideas for all schools.
District 220 officials will be at Barbara Rose Elementary School, 61 W. Penny Road, Barrington, at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 1, to present seek input regarding that building. Another session is set for 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 2, at Barrington High School, 616 W. Main St. The 12 sessions will be finished by the end of November.