The Hawthorn Board of Education conducted a work session to set parameters for the scope and process of architectural work to resolve current and future space constraints on its six school buildings.
The consensus of the board was 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.
To deal with overcrowding, the Board of Education agreed to have its architect, DLR Group, of Chicago, consider new construction options and reconfiguring existing school space. 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. With that agreed upon, on Monday, April 25, the board is expected to review architectural costs for developing an Educational Facility Master Plan.
Once the DLR Group fees have been established, the firm can begin meeting with staff, parents, and community members to gauge their impressions of space needs for student learning.
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.