Oak Park's oldest Montessori school recently broke ground on a second location in order to expand its infant, toddler and middle school programs.
School officials and community leaders gathered on Aug. 24 on the 6900 block of Roosevelt Road in Oak Park to break ground on what will be a second campus. The school's main campus is at 324 N. Oak Park Ave.
In a statement released last month, Alcuin's executive director, Gina Gleason, said that the new facility is the result of increased demand for quality early childhood offerings. She said the school also needs increased capacity for its growing middle school, which is currently housed at the Gale House, located south of Unity Temple on Kenilworth.
"We constantly receive inquiries from families seeking high-quality care for their infants and toddlers," Gleason stated. "Additionally, our middle school is currently bursting at the seams with families in search of a smaller, more personalized learning environment for their children."
During a phone interview last week, Gleason said that she anticipates construction on the second campus taking around seven months to complete. Construction, she added, won't affect the school's current programs and there will be no tuition increase as a result of the new capital project.
She credited the Oak Park Economic Development Corporation, as well as Community Bank of Oak Park and River Forest, for helping Alcuin identify and secure the property. The school purchased the property from Community Bank for an undisclosed amount and took out loans from Illinois Federal Funding and West Suburban Bank to fund the cost of the build.
In last month's statement, Viktor Schrader, economic development director at OPECD, said that the organization is "proud to support Alcuin's expansion plans and feel their new campus will help revitalize the Roosevelt corridor."
Ted Nourie, the owner of Eight-Cubed architecture — the firm that will design the new campus — said in the statement that he has been involved in developing the Alcuin addition since 2011.
"I am extremely excited to see what this project can ultimately provide for the Alcuin community," Nourie said. "We strived to integrate openness, abundant natural daylight, and nature in the building design, because we believe these elements are critical in the development and education of young Montessori students."
Gleason said last week that Alcuin has been in Oak Park since 1961. The new addition, she said, will allow the school "to remain in Oak Park" and to "continue serving students in this area."
"There's a real need for quality infant and toddler care that isn't currently available to this area," she said. "We've known that for a long time and we're really excited we'll be able to bring that to families and to provide the Montessori experience for the youngest students."
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