Trinity High School in River Forest will undertake a $2.8 million building project after being given a green light by the village board, June 28.
Village trustees voted unanimously to grant a major amendment to the existing Planned Development permit, which will allow school officials to construct an enclosed walkway between the academic building and the gymnasium and construct an enclosed courtyard along the east side of the school. The link will include an elevator to access all floors in the academic building. The Planned Development permit was granted in July 2002 when school officials constructed the gymnasium.
Asked on June 28 when school officials hope to start construction, Laura Curley, Trinity president, said, “Tomorrow.” Construction is expected to begin in July with the target for completion the school’s Christmas break in December.
School officials said the courtyard will be a place for students to be outside in a secured area with landscaping and seating for educational use and enjoyment. It will be protected by a wrought-iron fence. The addition will allow students to walk from their classes in the academic building to physical education classes in the athletic center within an enclosed secure building rather than walking outside, which is the current situation.
The one-story enclosed walkway will be topped with a green roof and the courtyard will be constructed with permeable pavers. Curley noted that the elevator will replace one that dates back to the 1920s.
According to Curley, construction is not expected to have an impact on the neighborhood, which is residential. She said an area in the school parking lot has been designated for construction materials and parking for construction workers. She assured elected officials that the school parking lot has sufficient space for faculty/staff, student and visitor parking and that parking on neighborhood streets will not occur. She indicated that those living on the neighboring streets are in the habit of calling the school office when they see students parking there.
The project will require the removal of three mature trees. School officials plan to replace them with three new trees but the village requires trees to be replaced on a caliper-by-caliper basis or an in-lieu fee will be charged. Curley explained that the campus does not have sufficient space to allow additional new tree plantings and said the school will make a donation to the fund the village uses to plant new trees.
Curley’s presentation was generally well-received by elected officials with Trustee Lisa Gillis expressing pleasure with the environmentally-friendly components of a green roof and permeable pavers.