Plan calls for adding classrooms for early childhood education

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School board focuses on work at Northside school

After looking at a maintenance and construction 10-year plan that could have totaled $11.5 to $14 million District 777’s Board of Education is now looking at plan that is closer to $8.4 million to $11.9 million.

The current proposal presented by Supt. Dennis Laumeyer has the board taking no action in 2016 to ask property taxpayers for additional funding. However, in 2017 it will be seeking funding for both a new operating levy and for construction of an addition to the Northside Elementary School for early childhood classrooms. The plan also calls for a substantial renovation of the Northside’s kitchen and the addition of a lunchroom.

It is estimated that the addition of six pre-school classrooms to the Northside would cost around $3.2 million. “If you put on a preschool facility, you are making a commitment to Northside for many, many years,” Laumeyer told the board at its May 16 meeting.

With the additional classroom space, the district should look at updating its kitchen and adding a lunchroom. “So now you don’t need to use your gymnasium for breakfast and lunch,” Laumeyer said. “Now you have two sections of your gym available all day.”  That eliminates the need to add more gymnasium space.

The lunchroom would also be able to be used for learning space when meals weren’t being served, he said. New bathrooms would have to be added because the current bathrooms next to the gym would be coming out.

The cost of the new space as well as new equipment would cost about $2.1 million. It would have the square footage to seat about 100 to 150 students.

Replacing the Northside roof would cost another $250,000. Replacing all the windows is another $250,000. Updating the bathroom and lockers would be about $100,000.

The big number is updating the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system to improve air quality in the school at a cost of $2.1 million.

Bond costs for the projects would be in the $500,000 range, Laumeyer told the school board. He said he was presenting the board with information to “get the ball rolling and start the discussion.”


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