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Architectural Update

Hawthorn architects, DLR Group, gave the first in a series of public presentations to the Board of Education and about 50 community and staff members on the building conditions in District 73. DLR Group completed phase 1 of the district facility master plan analysis. Phase 1 is a complete assessment of current facilities within the district.

After analyzing school space, meeting with staff, and studying school mechanics, DLR Group presenters pointed out that Hawthorn’s two campuses are at maximum site size capacity for State of Illinois site guidelines for schools. Each campus has three schools situated on it. There are about 24 acres set aside for the North Campus and about 39 acres set aside for the South Campus. More acreage for both campuses would be helpful for the number of students attending each school.

Individual schools are at or nearing enrollment capacity under state guidelines, with the exception of Elementary North School. Projected enrollment from the demographic study completed in 2016 indicates that there is a need for more instructional space to meet growing enrollment and programs. Information gained from meetings with staff in each building indicated that all buildings are experiencing some stress on the current use of space. In this first phase of analyzing districtwide building space, architects also reviewed items like indoor air quality, fire safety, as well as visual and acoustic comfort. DLR Group, of Chicago, will now meet with administration, staff and the Board of Education to determine how the district would like to deliver education to its students.

Once they have sufficient information, the architectural team will develop proposals to resolve overcrowding and space constraints in the district’s six school buildings. The administration expects this meeting to take place closer to the start of the 2016-17 school year.

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 a maximum of 25:1 per classroom, which is the current number the district uses. Board members felt strongly that curriculum and the use of technology should guide how teachers use space in schools.

The presentation was recorded and can be found on the district web page under Board meetings. The PowerPoint can also be accessed here.