by Dennis Sullivan
Dec. 15, 2014
Supt David Thieman says student transportation is one of the logistical issues Steger School District 194 officials are addressing during the transformation of two of the three elementary school buildings into grade centers.
The primary and intermediate grade centers’ locations lie on the other side of Chicago Road/Illinois Route 1 or 34th Street/Steger Road for many of the district’s kindergarten-through-fourth-grade students.
The $18 million to $20 million expansion and remodeling project is intended to turn Saukview Elementary into a primary grade center and Eastview Elementary into an intermediate center.
Parkview Elementary will cease to exist as a school building.
Thieman, speaking during the Dec. 9 forum
at Columbia Central Middle School, acknowledged on-time delivery and pick-up of students becomes more complicated for families with children in multiple grade centers.
District Business Manager Eric Diehl, responding to the transportation issue, said it’s already clear the district will “be bussing more students” in response.
Diehl explained the past approach required a student to live 12 or more blocks from school to qualify for public transportation, with exceptions for students who can’t safely walk to school because of traffic.
Thieman also told the gathering, “Staggered times are a concern.” An unidentified district official said the administration is discussing start times, with the intention of making a formal recommendation to the board of education in the spring.
Crossing the street
Steger Emergency Management Agency Chief Tom Johnston told Thieman his volunteers have helped in the past.
But Johnston warned, “A lot more children are going to be crossing Chicago Road,” sparking a discussion about crosswalks, the effectiveness of crossing guards and the potential for police to play a more active role in traffic control.
Start times and transportation weren’t the only issues of interest to attendees.
One mother suggested the floor-to-ceiling glass walls in hallways be of a more expensive shatterproof composition.
Another mother praised the move away from individual school mascots to the unifying “Cardinal” theme.
A major attraction?
“With big issues, come big challenges,” Thieman said, adding later that he and the school board “believe when this is all done, we’ll have people moving into our community” to take advantage of the improved education and environment.
Original material copyright 2014 Eastern Will County News; all rights reserved.
. . . . . … . . . …. . . .. . . . .. . . . .. . . . . . . . . …… . . . . .. . . . . . …. . . .