Hawthorn District 73 building plan shifts focus to elementary school

  • The new music room addition at Hawthorn Middle School North in Vernon Hills is part of a $9.4 million project expected to wrap up this summer.

    The new music room addition at Hawthorn Middle School North in Vernon Hills is part of a $9.4 million project expected to wrap up this summer. Courtesy of Hawthorn District 73

  • The new orchestra/band room at Hawthorn Middle School North in Vernon Hills is part of a $9.4 million project funding through a $48.7 million building plan approved by voters in 2018.

    The new orchestra/band room at Hawthorn Middle School North in Vernon Hills is part of a $9.4 million project funding through a $48.7 million building plan approved by voters in 2018. Courtesy of Hawthorn District 73

 
 
Posted4/20/2021 5:30 AM

The coronavirus pandemic has upended teaching and learning during the past year, but a $48.7 million building plan in Hawthorn Elementary District 73 remains on track.

Approved by voters in the Vernon Hills-based district in November 2018, the comprehensive initiative to build a kindergarten center and expand or renovate seven existing buildings continues.

 

At Hawthorn Middle School North, 201 W. Hawthorn Parkway, more than a year of building additions and renovations is winding down with anticipated completion in July.

Construction at Middle School North is on schedule and the pandemic has had little impact on the timeline for completion, according to LeeAnn Taylor, assistant superintendent of finance and operations.

The $9.4 million project includes eight classrooms in two single-story additions, as well as a full gym/band/music room and two STEM labs. The school will be ready to open in August for the 2021-22 school year, Taylor said.

Hawthorn Elementary South, 430 N. Aspen Drive, is next in the queue. It will be the third of five phases in the district's facilities master plan.

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The first phase was construction of a 14-classroom kindergarten building known as Hawthorn School for Young Learners. The $13.5 million facility at 637 N. Aspen Drive was ready for students last summer, but the opening was delayed until Feb. 1 when hybrid learning began.

Because the School for Young Learners eased congestion in elementary schools, Middle School North was chosen as the second master plan project.

Classroom space isn't the issue at Hawthorn Elementary South, which has 530 students through fifth grade.

The project there calls for two additions to house two art rooms, including a kiln room; two choral music rooms; a band/orchestra room; a fitness/music room; a gym; an outdoor learning courtyard; and a new secure main visitor entry.

Bid packages totaling $9.1 million for the Elementary South work were approved by the school board on Feb. 4. The project will begin in early June and is expected to be done in time for the 2022-23 school year, according to Taylor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Last week, the village's planning and zoning commission recommended a zoning revision, architectural plans and other approvals for the work. The village board will make the final decision at a future meeting, but opposition isn't expected.

Taylor said the district has spent just over $20 million of the voter-approved construction funds.

Meanwhile, District 73 plans to expand in-person learning to five days a week for early childhood through eighth grade students enrolled the district's hybrid model, beginning Monday, May 3.

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