At its April meeting, the Hawthorn Board of Education authorized an architectural contract for DLR Group, of Chicago.
DLR Group estimates a 12 to 14 week process to develop an Educational Facility Master Plan for Hawthorn School District 73. That process will include analyzing the facilities, meeting with stakeholders, and developing proposals. As part of the master plan, the architectural team, administration and board members will include valuable input from parents, staff, students, and community members.
Once they have sufficient information, the architectural team will make proposals to resolve overcrowding and space constraints in the district’s six school buildings.
The Board of Education authorized DLR Group to consider new construction options and to reconfigure existing school space to alleviate overcrowding. Members agreed that the student teacher ratio goal should be 25:1 per classroom, which is the current number the district uses. Board members felt strongly that curriculum and the use of technology should inform how teachers use space in schools.
The board directed DLR Group to use enrollment projection numbers developed by John D. Kasarda, Ph.D., Consulting Demographer, which show an increase by as much as 500 students in the next five years.
Hawthorn has been experiencing space capacity challenges in its school buildings for several years. Hawthorn’s current enrollment of 4,264 in grades preschool through eighth jumped dramatically over last year’s number. This increase in enrollment puts additional stress on the space available in the buildings. The Board recognizes that class sizes are at or nearing capacity in some schools. Additionally, the Board recognizes that several of the schools are nearing enrollment capacity and that additional housing development within the district boundaries is going to add to that enrollment.