The original building was built in 1950, with additions in 1957,
1967 and 1997. While not in need of more classrooms, the school
needs to update the available space to meet the demands of a
changing educational system.
"The board wants to know where you
(the public) want them to go," said BLDD architect Todd Cyrulik.
Most of the meeting, which was code-named the "Discovery"
meeting, consisted of a presentation by Cyrulik. Mark Graves from
CTS, a St. Louis-based energy company that will help to ensure
efficient energy use for the school, was also involved in the
presentation. Around 30 people were present for the meeting.
"Tonight's meeting is going to focus on discovering the needs for
this district," said Cyrulik as the presentation began.
The first item Cyrulik presented was finances. He covered three
sources of money that the school will have access to:
The second source
is health and life safety funds. These funds can be used to
ensure the health and welfare of students. The guidelines for
these funds are a little stricter; the funds have to be used in
a manner that will fix a potential problem that could endanger
students if unchecked. As of now, about $1 million is available
without affecting property taxes. In addition, up to $3 million
can be levied.
The third source
is grants. These grants would likely come from the state, the
Federal Communications Commission or the Illinois Clean Energy
In total, there could be between $2.5 million and $5.5 million
The second part of the presentation was a slideshow presented by
Graves. The pictures were of various areas in the school as it is
now, and they served to illustrate a number of issues. Some examples
of these issues:
Traffic flow --
The road that circles the school runs through areas where
children may be playing. This presents a problem, especially
School sign --
It's not really a problem, but it is not aesthetically pleasing,
Cafeteria -- This
area is a little inconvenient to get to, as students have to
walk through the gym, which may be in use, while teachers may
walk through the boiler room, which can be frightening to
younger students. The cafeteria is also too small for the
growing number of students.
Heating and air
conditioning -- There is only one boiler that heats most of the
building, and air conditioning is very limited.
Showers -- The old
shower and locker rooms have been converted to storage rooms due
to lack of space over the years.
-- There are not enough outlets for the increasing amount of
electronics used to teach students.
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After the slideshow, Cyrulik commented that while normally Graves
shows some horrendous problems with older schools, CEL does not have
so many issues. Cyrulik added that the district has maintained the
property really well.
While the property is in good shape, technology and society have
changed education from what it once was, according to Cyrulik.
"Things are changing so quickly, it's hard to look down the road
even two years," he said.
Until recently, teaching operated on the idea that there would be
jobs for everyone. Even the students who didn't learn quite as
easily could still work in a strong labor market. Now, with a
completely different economy, education has had to change -- and by
extension, facilities for education need to change as well.
"Teaching is no longer the sage on the stage; it is the guide by
the side," said Cyrulik. Teaching has become helping students to
filter through information, because children have access to so much
of it compared with the past.
Fortunately, the district does have the space for reconstruction.
As seen with the locker rooms that became storage, a room's purpose
can change. The district can use such change for the better, and not
just for storage.
An example of such rearrangement is a classroom in which
everything is meant to be moved. Cyrulik provided a picture of such
a classroom from another school. In this room, all of the furniture
was mobile, and small cubicle walls could be folded and moved to
create different arrangements for the students. This makes it easier
for students to work in groups or to create their own workspace by
Another example is a courtyard. Despite all of the technology
students have access to, they still need time outside. One school in
Illinois provides small gardening areas for each class.
Finally, before the meeting came to a close, those present were
asked to come up with what they thought were the most important
improvements that could be made. One of the guests, second-grade
teacher Jill Urish, said she was interested in the classroom
furnishings that are more mobile than what is in place now.
"And somebody said something about outlets in the floors -- that
would be great," said Urish.
The next meeting, which will be on Sept. 13 at 6:30, will provide
an opportunity for those present to have a say in designing the
layout of a potential school building in order to solve existing
problems. The third meeting will be on Sept. 27, when decisions will
be made as to what the public believes would work the best. Finally,
on Oct. 16, a presentation will be made to the school board with the
[By DEREK HURLEY]
Architects is a company that primarily designs school buildings.
The company started in Bloomington in 1929. There are three other
Illinois offices -- in Decatur, Chicago and Champaign -- and one
office in Davenport, Iowa.
For more information, visit CEL's new