Larkin High School renovation could begin in April
Work on a more than $7 million construction project to upgrade Larkin High School in Elgin will be done over the summer, pending school board approval.
Elgin Area School District U-46 wants to modify each of its five high schools to accommodate the adoption and rollout of new educational pathways and support various programs.
Larkin will be home to the culinary arts, early childhood and health care sciences pathways. That would require extensive renovations to fully support the curriculum.
During renovation, the school's science classrooms, lab spaces and prep rooms also will be updated, Sheila Downs, U-46 director of plant operations, told the school board Monday.
Once the school board approves the project, work would begin during spring break and be concentrated in the school's D Wing, which houses the culinary program.
"We are revamping the culinary program and the space," Downs said.
A newly accredited heath care sciences program and early childhood program, which will be certified by the Department of Children and Family Services, have specific mandates that require certain upgrades. An old automotive shop would be converted into a childhood area and an outdoor concrete pad would be replaced with a fenced playground and bollards to meet the requirements of the early childhood program.
Construction would begin in April and is expected to take roughly 17 weeks, and students will be moved into mobile classrooms, Downs said.
"The plan is that the kids will not return to the D wing after spring break," she said. "They will use the mobile for passing periods. Eleven classes will be located in the mobile."
Due to the magnitude of these projects, officials are focusing on renovating one high school each year for the next five years until each school has been adapted for the pathways it will house.