Fremont District 79 unveils 3-year facilities plan

Updated 1/19/2018 7:46 PM
  • Fremont Middle School student Sean McCay opens his locker earlier this year. District 79 officials are planning to replace the school's lockers and make other upgrades.

    Fremont Middle School student Sean McCay opens his locker earlier this year. District 79 officials are planning to replace the school's lockers and make other upgrades. Courtesy of District 79

  • Superintendent Bill Roberston

    Superintendent Bill Roberston

  • Spokeswoman Margaret Van Duch

    Spokeswoman Margaret Van Duch

Fremont School District 79 officials have unveiled a three-year, $8 million plan to renovate classrooms, replace lockers and make other changes at the Mundelein-area campuses.

Much of the funding for the projects -- about $5.3 million -- will come from a state grant the district received in 2014, spokeswoman Margaret Van Duch said. The rest will come from developer impact fees, savings and interest.

"We are excited about renovating our schools to best support modern student learning, while being able to do so without increasing taxes for these projects," Superintendent Bill Robertson said.

The proposal calls for changes at all three District 79 schools -- Fremont Elementary, Fremont Intermediate and Fremont Middle.

Although work will differ from building to building, classrooms in all three schools will be renovated, officials said. Those renovations will include the replacement of stationary desks with movable furniture and the installation of projectors with wireless connectivity.

The work is set to be done in phases over each of the next three summers. Improvements at the middle school are set to come first this summer, followed by the elementary school in 2019 and the intermediate school in summer 2020.

Each phase should be completed before the start of the next school year, Van Duch said.

"The projects are not going to disrupt school," she said.

At the middle school, officials propose renovating classrooms, replacing student lockers and renovating a fitness room, among other changes.

"Part of our middle school is from 1957, so whenever we can, we try to upgrade and update it," Fremont board member Shawn Killackey said.

The first phase is expected to be the costliest. Officials have budgeted $3.5 million for the work, Van Duch said.

The following summer at Fremont Elementary, classrooms will be renovated, a playground will relocate, and smaller classrooms and offices will get new technology and new furniture. It could cost about $2.5 million.

Finally, at Fremont Intermediate School, officials want to renovate classrooms and create a makerspace for students in the library. Additionally, the plan proposes renovating the middle school playground during this final phase, as well as the conversion of a greenhouse at the middle school to more functional space.

The third phase could cost about $2 million.

The construction bidding process has not yet begun and the scope of the proposed work is being refined, officials said, so the cost estimates could change.

More details are available on the district website at

The construction work is scheduled to be done as the district implements a new learning plan for students that aims to provide more personalized education tailored to individual needs.

The various facility upgrades will support the learning plan, Van Duch said.

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