Third summer of construction in Diamond Lake District 76 set to begin

  • Staff use a newly renovated gym at Diamond Lake School.

    Staff use a newly renovated gym at Diamond Lake School. Courtesy of Diamond Lake District 76

  • As it moves into a third summer of extensive school building improvements fueled by an $11.4 voter approved borrowing plan, Diamond Lake District 76 has created a new logo and is set to shed one of its three schools with the closing of Fairhaven in July.

    As it moves into a third summer of extensive school building improvements fueled by an $11.4 voter approved borrowing plan, Diamond Lake District 76 has created a new logo and is set to shed one of its three schools with the closing of Fairhaven in July. Courtesy of Diamond Lake District 76

  • Students use new playground equipment at Diamond Lake School.

    Students use new playground equipment at Diamond Lake School. Courtesy of Diamond Lake District 76

 
 

With $5.5 million in projects on the agenda, another busy summer of construction is planned at Diamond Lake District 76, as school officials are looking ahead to the end of a major overhaul.

The Mundelein-based K-8 district is rebranding itself with an updated logo, new mascots and a motto to "embrace, empower and excel" in advance of a new configuration for the 2020 school year.

"Since we are reorganizing and revitalizing the district with all of our facility improvements and upgrades, we wanted to revitalize and rebrand ourselves with a fresh new modern look," said Superintendent Bhavna Sharma Lewis.

"We're just excited about all the changes and how they're coming together," she added.

Among the biggest will be the consolidation of three buildings into two and ensuing changes of where students attend. Fairhaven School will be permanently closed in early summer and pre-K through second grade students will attend Diamond Lake School.

Third through eighth graders will attend West Oak, which will be divided into two schools in the same building: West Oak Intermediate (third through fifth grade); and West Oak Middle School (sixth through eighth grade).

The schools will have separate classrooms, bathrooms, offices, cafeterias, playgrounds, buses and principals. An innovation center and the nurse's office will be shared.

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"We still (will) have three schools but we have two buildings," said school board President Joy Hail. "I think it will be different but really positive."

To get there, District 76 will be proceeding with a third and final summer of extensive building improvements fueled by an $11.4 million borrowing plan approved by voters in Spring 2017.

Fairhaven, which housed pre-K through first graders, was determined to be inefficient and too expensive to upgrade, so work done there with referendum proceeds was minimal. The district hopes to sell or rent the building but nothing has been finalized.

The bulk of heavy duty work has focused on Diamond Lake and West Oak. Restrooms, gyms and security systems at both schools have been upgraded. Among other work, corridors were renovated and new monument sign installed at West Oak. Among the projects at Diamond Lake, boilers were replaced and a new roof installed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

On June 3, $5.5 million in work begins and the schools will be closed to the public. This summer's projects should be "pretty amazing," said Eric Rogers, director of finance and operations.

At Diamond Lake, $1.6 million is targeted for classroom air conditioning, corridor and cafeteria renovation and converting the library into an innovation center. At West Oak, a $3.9 million budget will be used to renovate classrooms and the library, build gym locker rooms and a new playground and reorganize the school and district offices.

Visit www.district76.org/ for an overview.

District 76 also will have a new food service provider with a greater variety of menu items including healthy options, Hail said.

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