Two Barrington middle schools could receive 'latest and greatest' air quality technology

  • This is Barrington Middle School-Prairie Campus off Dundee Road. Barrington Area Unit District 220's plans to upgrade Prairie and Barrington Middle School-Station Campus could include technology improving air flow as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    This is Barrington Middle School-Prairie Campus off Dundee Road. Barrington Area Unit District 220's plans to upgrade Prairie and Barrington Middle School-Station Campus could include technology improving air flow as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Bob Susnjara | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 8/6/2020 5:45 PM

Barrington Area Unit District 220's plans to upgrade two middle schools could include technology improving air flow as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

District 220 leaders held separate meetings this week to review preliminary renderings for additions planned at Barrington Middle School's Prairie and Station campuses. Prairie is on Dundee Road and Station is to the north off Eastern Avenue.

 

Voters in March approved borrowing $147 million for building projects across the district.

Both middle schools will receive building additions with extra classrooms. In turn, that'll mean Prairie and Station no longer will have mobile classrooms.

Safety and security upgrades will occur at all District 220 schools.

Chicago-based architecture firm DLR Group and Pepper Construction in Barrington are collaborating on the project planning. DLR executive Josh Tremblay said air quality has become an important part of the Prairie and Station projects.

"We know there's a big issue out there called COVID-19," Tremblay said. "And so our team has been really focusing on that with our ... design. So, in our mechanical engineering and HVAC systems, we have a chance at this point in time to provide a new system for the addition, but also to provide some upgrades to some of the existing systems.

"Our team is really looking to provide the latest and greatest technology for UV treatment (of air) and air quality and fresh air intake so that these spaces really have the latest and greatest systems out there, which will help with treating the air that's in the space."

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Tremblay said the design plans for open classrooms and flexible spaces in the additions would help with spacing students at a social distance or isolation, if needed.

Lance Tritsch, a Pepper vice president whose specialties include school projects, said the construction timeline for Prairie and Station will be similar. Work could begin as soon as spring 2021, he said.

"You have to build the addition and be able to tie into all these adjacent rooms," Tritsch said. "So, basically, you're going to build the addition one year, and then the following summer is when you would tie in to all the adjacent classrooms."

With District 220 expecting to pay off some debt in 2021, the $147 million borrowing plan means the owner of a house valued at $500,000 will see a decrease of about $75 a year, compared with the 2019 property tax bill.

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