by Dennis Sullivan
Dec. 12, 2014
Supt David Thieman says the coming transformation of Steger Elementary School District’s K-through-5 system from three traditional elementary schools into one primary grade center and one intermediate (second, third and fourth) grade center shouldn’t affect the start of the 2015-16 school year.
Thieman characterized the new educational approach as more “collaborative.” In keeping with Columbia Central Middle School’s Cardinal logo, the primary grade center will use a baby Cardinal and the intermediate grade center will use an in-between Cardinal.
The days of identifying as a Parkview Panther, Eastview Eagle or Saukview Shark are gone, he said.
Thieman, who focused on teaching-learning changes during his portion of Tuesday’s community forum at Columbia Central Middle School, was joined by members of the Itasca-based architectural firm responsible for the project’s design.
Thieman said the end result of the work by DLA Architects, which has garnered awards for its work on Homewood-Flossmoor, Lincoln-Way West and Lincoln-Way North high schools, would be “an amazing thing for our entire community.”
common, individual themes
Certainly the exterior and interiors of the two buildings, as depicted in renderings presented by Architect Ed Wright, are much more in line with the appearance of Columbia Central, currently the newest of SD 194’s four schools.
Both buildings will be expanded to approximately the same size. In addition, each will have:
* A clock above the exterior entrance, ala Columbia,
* Secondary pick-up/drop-off locations to reduce congestion,
* Cafeterias designed for other uses during non-meal times,
* Larger, brighter learning areas with higher ceilings in some areas and
* Glass walls in the hallway for more natural light and a cheerier atmosphere.
Both schools will be air-conditioned, compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act and provide more secure visitor access.
While each building will complement the other’s interior layout, there are some differences. The Saukview school building will double in size, bringing it close to the size of the expanded Eastview building. The differences in ground height outside of the Eastview/Secondary Grade Center have been addressed by plans for an amphitheater-like area.
The construction process
DLA Chief Executive Officer Dwain Lutzow said building expansions and other exterior work would be fenced off from students and faculty. He said exterior work close to teaching areas and interior work would be performed during breaks.
“There’s just not enough time in the summer” to perform all the work while school isn’t in session, Lutzow said.
SD 194 Business Mgr Eric Diehl said an environmental consultant would oversee removal of any floor tiles containing asbestos during the interior work.
Agreeing with Thieman’s comment that the work “is completely safe,” Diehl said his son “will not miss a day” of school.
Actually, the first thing Thieman tackled in his presentation was the financial impact of the new $18 million-$20 million construction project.
“How is this going to affect your taxes?” he asked, quickly adding, “Not at all.”
Thieman said the school district delayed the project until it had paid off all costs associated with building Columbia Central. The 144,000-square-foot facility on Richton Road at Stella Boulevard opened to the fifth-through eighth grades in 2005.
SD 194 School Board President Michelle Helsel added that the school district’s AA credit rating also played a money-saving role by reducing interest on bonds sold to finance the project.
Original material copyright 2014 Eastern Will County News; all rights reserved.
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