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Oak Ridge Ready for Students- Courier News

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Written by Suzanne Baker, The Courier News. August 12, 2014

Oak Ridge is ready for students

CARPENTERSVILLE — Jeffrey Holstein’s students will be in for a big surprise today when they arrive at Oak Ridge School.

“I think they’re going to be shocked,” he said.

Holstein’s students are among the 56 who will open the newest school building Community Unit District 300 has to offer.

The community got a sneak peek on Monday when the district hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house at the 300 Cleveland Ave. site.

Gone are the outdated, mobile units on Lake Marian Road that housed the alternative school since it opened in 1998. Those were demolished two months ago.

District 300 sold the 7.2-acre site to Children’s Home & Aid for $750,000. Proceeds from the sale were used to offset the cost of renovating the building at 300 Cleveland Ave. from office space back into classrooms.

Students now will attend a school with classrooms with shiny walls, polished floors, and huge windows; state-of-the-art restrooms and drinking fountains; thinking rooms for times of reflection; a cafeteria with an optionfor hot lunch; and access to a gymnasium.

For the staff, there’s a work room, conference room, and plenty space for the school nurse, principal and other office staff.

Holstein, who is has worked at Oak Ridge School for 13 years, said over the years he’s heard numerous plans to move Oak Ridge from the mobile classrooms. Greeting visitors who stopped in his classroom on Monday, Holstein said he’s thrilled the move finally came to fruition.

Equally thrilled is Shelley Nacke, assistant superintendent for education services. Before taking on the district administrative role, she worked as a teacher then principal for nine years at Oak Ridge.

“It has been a long time going… 17 years to put Oak Ridge in a building that you don’t have to go across the street for a drill,” Nacke told the crowd in attendance at the ribbon cutting.

School Board President Anne Miller thanked the community for its support.

“It’s incredibly exciting to be here. It’s a day that we knew was going to come,” but it just took 17 years to accomplish, she said.

“To take gym classes inside a mobile classroom was pretty challenging. We had excellent staff that adapted to that,” Miller said. She said now students will have access to the gymnasium at the adjacent Carpentersville Middle School.

Oak Ridge School’s Permanent Home- Courier News

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Written by Suzanne Baker, The Courier News. August 7, 2014

Oak Ridge School to show off permanent home

CARPENTERSVILLE — Two months after a demolition crew tore apart the mobile classrooms that once housed Community Unit School District 300’s alternative school, district officials will proudly show off the permanent home for Oak Ridge School.

A community ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house is planned from 4:30-5:30 p.m. Monday at Oak Ridge School, 300 Cleveland Ave.

The ceremony ends a process that started more tha

n a year ago when District 300 put the 7.2-acre site of Oak Ridge School on Lake Marian Road up for sale. The property eventually was sold for $750,000 to the Children’s Home and Aid, which is building a preschool on the site.

District officials were eager to move the more than 70 students from sixth through 12th grade from the cramped mobile classrooms. Although the mobile classrooms were intended to last 10 years, the district has used them for 17 years.

Oak Ridge serves students whose special education needs cannot be met at their home schools. Students who commit an expellable offense also can be referred or transferred to the school’s Safe Schools program.

Moving Oak Ridge to its new home adjacent to Carpentersville Middle School will allow the district to reach more students. Because of size limitations, the mobile classrooms could serve a maximum of 78 students. The new space will allow up to 130 students.

At the same time the district was looking for new space for Oak Ridge, the District 300 leadership was eyeing places to house the central office staff under one roof.

In February, the School Board approved moving forward with plans to construct a new office building for administrators and move Oak Ridge School to 300 Cleveland Ave., where the district offices were located at that time.

Over spring break 2014, administrators moved into temporary office space at Hampshire High School, where they will stay until the building just south of Jacobs High School in Algonquin is finished sometime in December.

Work began immediately tearing apart the 300 Cleveland Ave. office space to turn it back into classrooms.

In addition to room for more students, the new school building gives students access to hot lunches, creates more space for group activities, and gives students the opportunity to participate in active physical education daily.

The results of those efforts can be seen during the open house planned on Monday.