U-46 approves plans to move to full middle schools by 2026-27 school year

  • Elgin Area School District U-46 plans to expand Kenyon Woods Middle School in South Elgin, bringing the student capacity to 1,125.

    Elgin Area School District U-46 plans to expand Kenyon Woods Middle School in South Elgin, bringing the student capacity to 1,125. Daily Herald file photo

Updated 9/29/2023 5:10 PM

Students in this year's third-grade class will be the first sixth-graders to attend a middle school in Elgin Area School District U-46.

Board members this week approved plans that will allow the district to transition to a full middle school model by the start of the 2026-27 school year. Currently, sixth-graders in U-46 attend elementary schools.


In April, voters approved a request to borrow $179 million to help rebuild five elementary schools, two of which date back to the 1800s, and transition to a full middle school model.

Under the plan approved this week, Abbott and Ellis middle schools in Elgin will close after the 2025-26 school year. District officials said it is not cost-effective to update the schools, which have unique challenges such as accessibility and small lots.

Instead, the district plans to build a new middle school on 12.4 acres at 2604 Rohrssen Road adjacent to Hilltop Elementary School in Elgin. District officials pegged construction costs for a new middle school at $90 million to $130 million.

Expansions at Kenyon Woods Middle School in South Elgin and Kimble Middle School in Elgin also are planned. Additions at both schools would accommodate three additional sections at each grade level, bringing each school's capacity to 1,125 students.

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Hawk Hollow Elementary School in Bartlett closed at the end of the 2022-23 school year so it can be transformed into a middle school.

District officials anticipate starting construction at Hawk Hollow later this school year. Cost estimates for the project were not yet available as the district is still negotiating bids for the project.

Expansion at Kimball Middle School is expected to cost $40 million to $60 million, while expansion at Kenyon Woods Middle School could cost $30 million to $40 million, officials said. Construction on both projects will start next year, with completion expected in time for the 2026-27 school year.

The district's remaining four middle schools -- Tefft, Canton, Eastview and Larsen -- also will undergo updates.

Overall, the project will help provide students "the safe and modern learning environments they all deserve," U-46 Chief of Staff Brian Lindholm said.

District officials initially planned to switch to a full middle school model by the 2025-26 school year. But they are delaying the start by one year to complete the expansions and construction of a new school.

Hawk Hollow will be ready to open as a middle school by the start of the 2025-26 school year, but district officials have not yet determined what they will do with the building that year.

District officials will begin a review of the elementary schools and host a series of meetings this school year to discuss future plans.

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