District 300 Unveils New Administration Building

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Written by Stephen Di Benedetto, Northwest Herald. January 14, 2015


Algonquin School District 300 unveils new administration building

ALGONQUIN – The newly opened $3.9 million administration building gives administrators from Algonquin-based School District 300 a centralized location that is nearly twice the size of their old office in Carpentersville.

The different administrative departments from District 300 also will be housed together at the same location for the first time – the primary motive behind officials’ decision to build the two-story, 28,000-square-foot building, said Chuck Bumbales, assistant superintendent of operations.

“The goal is better communication amongst all of our departments,” Bumbales said. “We are really hoping that in-person touch is really going to improve communication.”

But for parents and students, the majority of the building at 2550 Harnish Drive, Algonquin, will be off-limits, excluding the new district board room. Located near the main lobby, the larger meeting area can fit between 30 to 40 additional people.

It features four 70-inch TVs that add a visual component to board presentations and includes a raised seating area for board members. It’s a larger, more flexible space for the community than the board’s former meeting location at Westfield Community School, Bumbales said.

As staffers were settling into their new office and waiting for the final pieces of furniture to arrive, Bumbales showcased the new board room, five conference rooms and various office spaces during a media tour earlier this week.

The nine-month construction project forced administrators in the spring to move from Carpentersville to Hampshire, before they permanently relocated to Algonquin last week.

The project coincided with a $1.17 million renovation to the former Central Office in Carpentersville. The renovation converted the office into classrooms for the district’s alternative Oak Ridge School.

Officials should complete the move into the new Central Office by the end of January, Bumbales said.

“Everything operates – the phones, the Internet, the security systems, the fire system,” he said. “It’s really now about the final move-in touches that will really make the place become home.”

Huntley High School Expansion Phase II – First Electric Newspaper

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Written By Staff at First Electric Newspaper. January 2, 2015


HHS Further Expansion Waits For Thaw, Summer Break

Huntley High School students returning from Winter Break Monday will find themselves greeted with a new HHS main entrance sign meant to reinforce a “Red Raiders” identity.  Bolted up during the break, the new sign marks a milestone in District 158’s HHS expansion to handle another 1,000 students.

Most of the Phase I remodeling work’s finished, according to D158’s Operations and Maintenance Director Doug Renkosik  including revamping the main entrance for better security and repurposing four instruction areas including the school’s weight room.  Parking changes and a student entrance to the Harmony Road campus are finished and work’s approaching the halfway point on the new Huntley High Field House.

Phase II construction’s due to begin this Spring (“just as soon as the ground thaws”) for a classroom addition on the high school’s west end with interior work on a larger cafeteria, multiple common areas, and a redesigned library scheduled to start as soon as the Summer Break.  “It’s going to be a very busy Summer,” said Renkosik.

The entire project is being funded by a $39 million construction grant from the State that had originally been planned to pay for the District’s Square Barn Campus almost 10 years ago.

East Dundee Fire Station Open House- Courier News

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Written by Erin Sauder, Sun Times Media.  September 30, 2014


East Dundee shows off new fire station

East Dundee residents have an opportunity to see what their tax dollars paid for during an open house celebration for the new fire station along Route 25.

Set for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, the event will also include a dedication ceremony for the building.

“The residents were kind enough to approve the referendum and now they get a chance to see the building for the first time and where their tax dollars have gone,” said Fire Chief Steve Schmitendorf.

Saturday’s event will include tours of the station, refreshments, and activities for kids and adults. The dedication ceremony will be held at 11 a.m.

A $5.5 million referendum passed by taxpayers in November of 2012 made possible the new fire station, located near Routes 25 and 72. Fire officials said the area is more centrally located to serve their entire district, which extends as far east as Higgins Road and Route 90. The district serves the villages of East Dundee, South Barrington, Barrington Hills, and unincorporated Kane and Cook counties.

The move also means more room for the East Dundee Police Department which will expand into the fire department’s old building.

Fire officials were able to move into the new building in June.

“We decided to wait and give us some time to get organized to do the dedication,” Schmitendorf said.

He said officials have already noted a great improvement in response times at the new site.

“We’re in a better location to go in lots of different directions,” he said.

And while officials are hoping for good weather Saturday, the event will be held rain or shine.

“We have a big enough station now so we can do a lot inside that we couldn’t do before,” Schmitendorf said.

And because Fire Prevention Week is Oct. 5 through Oct. 11, “we’ll do the combination of the fire station dedication along with the open house and roll right into that,” Schmitendorf said.

East Dundee Building Getting Makeover – Courier News

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Written By Erin Sauder, The Courier News. October 1, 2014


East Dundee building getting makeover, second story

Another downtown East Dundee building is set to get a big makeover.

OTTO President Tom Roeser, owner of the site at 220 N. River St., plans to expand and change the design of the building to create office space for about 30 people.

“What [the tenants] want is 11,000 square feet and the building is only 6,000 square feet so we’re going to put a second story on,” Roeser said. “And my intention was to always have the look of the building fit the period of the other buildings in the downtown. And the red brick is way out of place for the downtown area.”

Roeser did not specify which company is taking the space but said demolition on the building will likely happen next week.

Initially, there was talk that the former Rakow office furniture building would be transformed into a two story structure that would be home to two restaurants.

But Roeser said the office space will create more foot-traffic downtown East Dundee.

“An office with 25 or 30 people will help the restaurants at lunch,” he said. “And it doesn’t hurt the parking, which is really a problem. So [this business] winds up being a better fit for the critical mass of the downtown.”

Lamp Construction has been engaged to manage the project, Roeser said. He anticipates it will take about nine months to complete.

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.

Work on District 300 Projects – Courier News

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Written by Suzanne Baker. The Courier News. July 17, 2014.


New District 300 Office Taking Shape

ALGONQUIN — While the rain in recent weeks set back school parking lot repairs in Community Unit School District 300, work on various projects throughout the district should be finished by the deadline, a school official is saying.

Assistant Superintendent of Operations Chuck Bumbales gave a brief update this week on the progress of the summer construction projects underway throughout the district.

The most noticeable change is at the site of the new administration center. What just weeks ago looked like a slab of concrete on vacant lot the corner of Golden Eagle and Harnish drives in Algonquin, now is starting to take shape as a building.

Bumbales said the steel was delivered and the basic frame for the structure took two days to erect. As of Monday, the roof was installed as welding crews moved onto the decking for the floors. He said the work should be completed by the end of the week so the concrete for the floor can be poured early next week.

Bumbales estimated the building will be fully enclosed within the next month and a half. He said after the concrete is poured on the second floor, the crew will move onto wrapping the steel around the building and then install the outer walls. The roofing would start after that, he said.

“Probably within a month and a half we should be water-tight in the building and then we should be moving quickly on the inside,” he said.

Work is projected to be completed around winter break.

With just weeks left before the Aug. 4 date to turn the building over to teachers, Bumbales said work on Oak Ridge School also continues to run on schedule.

He said work is continuing on the electrical, heating and air conditioning, sprinkler heads and system controls.

All the work in the ceiling passed inspection with the Regional Office of Education last week giving the green light for the construction crew to begin work on the drop ceiling, he said. With work on the tiling the floor already started, the next phase will be applying a final coat of paint and installing the doors and signage before cleaning up the facility.

With the start of the school year less than a month away, district officials expect air conditioning work and parking lot repairs to be done well before students arrive.

Bumbales said the air conditioning replacement at Dundee-Crown High School in Carpentersville, Sleepy Hollow Elementary in Sleepy Hollow, Neubert Elementary in Algonquin and Lake in the Hills Elementary in Lake in the Hills is on track to be finished before opening day of school Aug. 13.

While the district is on track to finish parking lot repairs before the start of the school year, Bumbales admitted a few locations will come down to the wire, particularly if the area is hit by frequent rain in the upcoming weeks. “We are on schedule, but it has been, well not even a little, a lot challenging,” Bumbales said.

The good news is that work is finished at Golfview Elementary, Lakewood Elementary, Perry Elementary and Dundee-Crown High School, all in Carpentersville; as well as Westfield School and Jacobs High School, both in Algonquin.

He said progress is being made at Parkview Elementary and the deLacy Family Education Center in Carpentersville; Lake in the Hills Elementary and Lincoln Prairie Elementary in Lake in the Hills; Sleep Hollow Elementary; Hampshire Elementary and Middle Schools in Hampshire; and Algonquin Lakes Elementary in Algonquin.

Construction is expected to start late this week to early next week on Neubert Elementary and Eastview Elementary in Algonquin; Dundee Highlands Elementary in West Dundee and Liberty Elementary in Carpentersville, according to Bumbales.

Renovations for Anderson Animal Shelter- Courier News

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Written by Courier News Staff, The Courier News. July 16, 2014


Major Renovations Planned for Anderson Animal Shelter

Anderson Animal Shelter is getting a makeover and is looking for foster volunteers to care for the animals during the renovation.

A donation — from Marco and Patricia Muscarello, on behalf of the Ivar and Ruth Anderson Animal Anti-Cruelty Foundation — will update the forty-year-old building, 1000 South LaFox, South Elgin. Beginning Sept. 1, new caging will be installed throughout the dog and cat adoption areas and the reception and non-public areas of the shelter will receive a face-lift.

“The Anderson Animal Shelter building is outdated, said Executive Director Beth Drake. “Our plumbing was installed when the shelter was built 40 years ago and has reached the end of its life expectancy. Our parking lot is too small to accommodate all our shelter visitors. Most importantly, our animal caging is outdated.”

Currently, the cats are housed in small, stainless steel cages and dogs are housed in chain link kennels.

“This type of caging is not ideal for shelter animals,” said Drake. “It increases their stress and leads to emotional and physical distress. The shelter redesign will incorporate creative housing solutions designed to reduce animal stress. Our adoptable cats will be housed with other cats in cat colonies, or individually in large ‘kitty condos’ with perching and sleeping ledges, allowing them to feel more at home. Adoptable dogs will be housed in their own small rooms, rather than in kennels.”

Under Drake’s leadership, shelter staff and volunteers have begun to implement activities to increase the adoptability of shelter animals in advance of the shelter redesign. Dog playgroups are now a daily occurrence. Dogs that “play well with others” are allowed to interact with one another off leash in an outdoor fenced area with special supervision.

“One of the most exciting improvements I’ve witnessed is dog playgroups, said Josephine Bachelder one of the Shelter’s current volunteers. “Socialization is vital to the emotional health of dogs and you can really see it in the shelter dogs during and after they’ve been in a playgroup. They’re so much more relaxed — it obviously has a positive effect on their overall well-being.”

“A remodeling project of this magnitude is a momentous event in the life of the shelter,” said Cindy Green, longtime member of the Board of Directors. “The upcoming changes will not only benefit the animals in our care, but also the staff and the community as a whole. In my almost seventeen years as a Board Member, I can’t remember feeling such unified excitement.”

The shelter plans to shut down for the month of September for the construction and renovations. Some of the shelter animals will be moved to a satellite adoption location at an undetermined location, where adoptions will continue while the shelter is closed. Anderson staff is currently looking for foster volunteers willing to care for an adult dog or cat or a litter of puppies or kittens for the transition period.

“We’re looking for as many as 100 foster homes willing to bring a shelter pet into their home for a period of one to two months while the shelter is under construction,” said Jon Koffenberger, the Shelter’s Animal Care Manager. “You don’t need to be an experienced foster volunteer, but we do ask that you have some pet experience. Many of the animals here at Anderson have been at the shelter for a long time. They’ve forgotten what it means to be part of a family and will need some help readjusting to that type of life,” he said. “We’ll transition our residents provide their food and any veterinary care they need. We’ll also be there to assist if fosters have behavior concerns about their foster pets. All we ask is that you love them and care for them as if they were your own until it’s time for them to come back to the shelter.”

Should foster volunteers wish to adopt their foster pet, they will be given first priority,” said Drake. “The transition to a shelter environment can be very stressful for dogs and cats,” she added. “Oftentimes, it can be very helpful to engage foster homes and get the animals out of our facility so that they can learn some basic manners, work on potty training and other kinds of activities. Regardless of how wonderful a shelter is, it is an inherently stressful place to be.”

For information about the foster program visit www.andersonanimalshelter.org or call 847-697-2880 x23 or email jkoffenberger@andersonanimalshelter.org.

District 12 Picks Construction Management Firm- Northwest Herald

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Written by Emily Coleman, The Northwest Herald. July 15, 2014


District 12 Picks Construction Management Firm to Oversee Improvements

JOHNSBURG – An Elgin-based construction management firm will oversee the referendum-funded overhaul of District 12 facilities.

The School District 12 Board unanimously picked Lamp Incorporated at its meeting Tuesday evening to serve as the construction management firm for the planned improvements and maintenance at the district’s schools.

The work also will include the closure of James C. Bush Elementary and the upgrading of Johnsburg Junior High School campus to accommodate those students.

The approval doesn’t come with a dollar amount yet, Superintendent Dan Johnson said. That number will be negotiated once the architecture firms finalize their plans as soon as this fall.

The estimated $41 million worth of improvements will be paid for using voter-approved bonds. The exact amount the district can take out will be based on a cap that ties how much districts can borrow to property values.

The School Operations Committee recommended Lamp Incorporated to the board after 45-minute interviews with three finalist firms, board Vice President Scott Rowe said.

Rowe was impressed by the firm’s “extensive experience” in northeastern Illinois, its experience with schools and its emphasis on site control and safety – an important point, Johnson added, due to the public nature of the buildings, which are accessed all the time by different groups.

Lamp Incorporated worked on the addition and renovation at Algonquin Middle School, the District 158 expansion to house full-day kindergarten, the Jacobs High School addition and renovation and the Huntley High School athletic improvements, according to its website.

It also conducted District 12’s facilities assessment three years ago, Johnson said.

Ian Lamp, the firm’s vice president of marketing and sales, also highlighted the way the firm ends the project: by digitally providing the district with all the bids, qualification reports, equipment manuals and training videos so they are completely accessible and usable after the project is done.

“I think we [the School Operations Committee] were comfortable that we would get what we expect,” Rowe said, adding that he feels “not the least bit tentative” about the pick.

Harvard High School Progress- Northwest Herald

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Written by Shawn Shinneman, The Northwest Herald. July 10, 2014


Harvard High School in second phase of face-lift

HARVARD – It’s been more than 20 years since Harvard High School received substantial work and nearly a century since it was built. So, yes, District 50 officials are excited to be closing in on the second phase of a major sprucing up of the place.”It’s very much needed – the original part of the building was constructed in 1921, and then it had additions in 1955 and 1993,” said Steve Miller, the district’s director of facilities. “So yeah, the older section of the building really did need some updating.”

Update it, they have. Contractors started last year building 10 new classrooms, which opened by Christmas break. They did the exterior of the kitchen last summer, and completed the interior throughout the school year. Equipment was installed in the spring.”That was a new addition to the building,” Miller said. “It’s completed and ready to go when the kids come back in September.” The old kitchen is being demolished and rebuilt as cafeteria space, expanding seating and adding a “senior cafe” that will incorporate “restaurant-style” seating, Miller said.
Crews also will build a fitness center with cardio equipment and an area for yoga, and redo the administrative area. The high school also will get installed a secure entrance, along with four other schools in the district this summer.

In the new entrance, a first set of doors will open into a small atrium where guests can speak with school staff through a video screen before being buzzed through a second set of locked doors. The district’s fifth school, Richard D. Crosby Elementary, already has a secure entrance. Additionally, both the high school and Jefferson School are getting new HVAC systems. The high school’s upgrades have been a long time coming. The school was the district’s only building not to feel relief from a $22 million referendum in 2008, which allowed the district to build Crosby school and drop a grade level at the others to create space. But that referendum was leveraged for a $13.8 million grant, which officials are using to complete the high school renovations.
So far, the completed projects have gone over well with students, Miller said. “They’ve been very good,” he said. “The modern rooms are very nice.”