By Terry Dean
More than 10 years after Julian and Brooks middle schools were built, some long-awaited outdoor landscaping upgrades are nearing completion. Total landscaping costs for both schools is around $260,000. The work includes new fencing around the buildings, some tree and shrub removal, and some underground water drainage improvements.
At OPRF, work on the school's field house continues to move forward. A portion of a support beam in a section of the bleachers found to be failing is being fixed. Total costs for those upgrades are about $70,000, according to the high school. The field house has been off limits to the public much of the summer. The work at the middle schools and field house is expected to be completed before school starts next month, officials from both districts have said.
Additional summer work at the high school includes upgrades to the men's bathrooms in the main building and wrestling locker rooms in the field house. The elementary schools in D97 are also receiving new cooling and heating units this summer. The upgrades were planned for some time, but last August's string of hot days stoked some parents to call for an immediate fix, like installing air-conditioning units in classrooms.
District officials say heat emergency plan this year, if needed, will include rotating classrooms to cooler areas in the buildings.
'Outdoor classroom' at Beye ready for students
The outdoor classroom space at Beye School, which was funded by the school's PTO, will create a fun learning environment for students, says Principal Jonathan Ellwanger.
The PTO paid for the new space, located in the back of the building near the newly-renovated school yard. The space includes tables and log-like benches that are actually made of cement. A stage as well as wooden playhouse is also in the area, which is ADA accessible. Teachers will be able to conduct lessons in the space, but it'll also be an area where students can play, Ellwanger said.
The PTO raised about $50,000 to build out the space.