Hawthorn 73 celebrates completion of new kindergarten facility

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Hawthorn School District 73 officials this week cut the ribbon on a new $13.5 million kindergarten learning center earlier this week, culminating more than two years worth of work.

The new facility will be occupied by almost all of the district’s kindergartners, but will be operated remotely for at least the start of its inaugural year.

The Hawthorn School for Young Learners, located next to the Sullivan Center on Aspen Drive, was created to help alleviate space concerns at the district’s other elementary schools, drawing 265 students and 40 staff to the new facility, the district stated in a release. The only elementary-level school it will not draw from is the School of Dual Language, District Spokeswoman Leslie Piotrowski said.

The ribbon cutting was headlined by multiple local officials, including District 73 Board of Education President Robin Cleek and Jill Martin, the facility’s first principal, who is also the former principal of Hawthorn Elementary South. Superintendent Peter Hannigan also spoke, along with Vernon Hills Board Member Thom Koch and Dave Doerhoefer from the Vernon Hills Park District, which is located next door to the learning center.

“This moment has been a long time coming,” Cleek said. “We identified the need to add space more than three years ago . . . We’re grateful for the backing from the community, and hope to hold an open house for everyone once it’s safe to do so.”

Jake Scheuring, the school’s new music teacher, closed out the event with the school song, which he also wrote. Officials then cut the blue ribbon at the front of the school.

Officials at the event were optimistic about the school’s future, but the announcement was tinged with the coronavirus pandemic, which officials noted forced the district’s schools to close in March during Hannigan’s first year at the helm. The new facility, along with the district’s other schools, will operate remotely for at least the first part of the new year as well.

Martin spoke about the benefits of consolidating the district’s first-year learners, saying it will provide an opportunity to bring more consistency to the students in terms of curriculum. It also will help them plan events around that age group, she said.

Originally approved for $13.5 million in early 2019, the 41,000-square-foot facility was a collaboration between District 73, the Village of Vernon Hills, the Vernon Hills Park District and The Cook Memorial Public Library District, the release states.

The facility itself is two stories and houses 16 classrooms, which are interconnected with makerspaces, collaboration spaces, as well as reading and math centers, the release states. It also connects to the Sullivan Community Center Gym, and has a playground.

The project was voted on in a November 2018 referendum, and construction broke on the facility in May 2019, the release states. Officials said the building was designed with flexibility as a key theme. Various elements in the classrooms, for example, are able to be moved and regrouped depending on the activity.

The project is also part of a larger $48.7 million initiative, titled the “Educational Facilities Master Plan.” Currently, the district is working towards renovations at Middle School North and Elementary South. Middle School North will see $9.4 million worth of changes in the form of additional classrooms, a full gym, a music room, two STEM labs and a locker room, Piotrowski said. The building is expected to open by fall of 2021.

At the Aug. 13 board meeting, officials were given a presentation for the changes coming to Elementary South. They include a full gym with a shared fitness and band area, an orchestra room, a choral room, art rooms and a focus on bringing more natural light into the building, Piotrowski said.

Scheuring, who will be working his first official teaching job, said despite the remote learning start, he is excited.

“There are lots of wonderful opportunities to do amazing things with our children and to inspire them to continue learning throughout the pandemic or any situation,” Scheuring said. “I just love that that is a philosophy and a part of this school (and district).”

Hawthorn 73 serves more than 4,200 students predominantly in the central Lake County area. They range from preschool to eighth grade.

Article courtesy of the Daily Herald

South Elgin’s Panton Mill Park nears completion, to reopen in early September

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The $5 million revamp of the Panton Mill Park in downtown South Elgin is almost complete and will reopen in early September, officials said.

Work continues at the riverfront park, with some of the key amenities like the sound stage and pavilion already visible to drivers and other passersby along State Street or La Fox Street. The targeted completion date is Sept. 4.

“This will be a premier park in the Fox Valley, whether it be for fishing, for using the new splash pad, for rentals – it’s a new day for South Elgin,” said Parks and Recreation Director Kim Wascher.

The COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on construction delayed the park’s reopening by a few weeks, said Village Administrator Steve Super.

Originally, the park was to be ready for the village’s annual Riverfest, typically held in mid-August. However, given that South Elgin canceled Riverfest months earlier, officials no longer had to finish the park before any vendors or amusement rides were set up.

“I think if we didn’t have COVID-19, we would have met the early August deadline,” Super said.

Along the riverfront, the new bike and pedestrian paths were ready for use. Prior to this project, park visitors had to cross all grass if they wanted to fish along the river, for instance.

Super said the pathways will connect with the path below the State Street bridge; the connection will make it easier for users to get to SEBA Park, County Park, the Duerr Forest Preserve, and/or the Fox River Trail.

Near Village Hall, workers continued work on a 61-nozzle splash pad; village officials will be able to control the splash pad remotely. The splash pad’s metal roof will be installed on or around Aug. 17, Super said.

Farther north, the park’s two tallest amenities have begun to take form. The skeleton for the nearly 24-foot-tall sound stage was already up. Still under construction was a concrete path for bands, artists, and acts to lug equipment easier to and from the stage.

The curved stage sits a few feet above ground level, providing panoramic views of the river, the park, and potential crowds of people once large gatherings become the norm again, said Super.

“We think the view from up here (for performers) will be beautiful,” he said.

The pavilion skeleton is up as well, with roofing to be done this week, said Super. The 4,500 square-foot pavilion will have stone-wrapped columns, concrete flooring, and a big enough space for large gatherings. Once open, individuals and groups will be able to rent the pavilion.

Also available for future reservations is the concessions/comfort building just south of the stage. The building will include concessions space, bathrooms, and storage. Super said this building presents potential for local fundraisers, whether it be a local Boy Scout troop, school group or someone else.

Other features of the park are less noticeable for visitors but just as important, officials said. The 25% increase in parking space in Panton Mill means there are now more than 200 parking spaces from Panton Mill down to the other side of State Street by County Park.

The park’s power supply – relocated to just outside the concessions building – is more convenient and more powerful, said Super. The upgrade means there should be fewer power generator rentals for future events like Riverfest, he added.

It is uncertain at this time if there will be a grand opening event for Panton Mill due to COVID-19, officials said. Nonetheless, the project is a welcome distraction for the village as it weathers the pandemic.

“It’s given people something to look forward to,” said Wascher.

 Article courtesy of the Chicago Tribune: https://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/elgin-courier-news/ct-ecn-south-elgin-panton-mill-park-st-0812-20200810-eq4pcxowzbdxngpatsi37fjbu4-story.html

South Elgin fire district’s two new fire stations finished and in use

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South Elgin and Countryside Fire Protection District firefighters have left their nearly 70-year-old downtown fire station digs for two newly completed firehouses funded through a $10 million tax referendum.

The 20,000-square-foot station at 1090 W. Spring St., which also houses the district’s administrative staff, and a 12,000 square-foot facility at 498 South Elgin Blvd. became operational this summer. With three stations now available, response times for incidents on both sides of the Fox River will improve, officials said.

“We had a lot of great memories (at the former 150 W. State St. station),” said Assistant Fire Chief Mike Rothecker, who started with the district as a part-time firefighter in the 1990s. “It is bittersweet, but we are very fortunate to move into a new building.”

In addition to more space for the administrative offices, the two-story station on Spring Street has a vehicle bay large enough to house an engine, tower ladder, ambulance, brush truck, rescue boat and utility vehicles.

The building can accommodate up to five firefighter/paramedics, all of the district’s administrators and the office manager, and provides more living space and amenities for the employees who work 24-hour shifts, Rothecker said.

The new South Elgin Boulevard station was built to house three firefighter/paramedics as well as an ambulance and engine.

Both stations are manned 24/7.

South Elgin purchased the old Spring Street firehouse for $350,000, and plans to tear it down so the land can be used to park village vehicles and police cars.

Fire station construction cost $12 million, with about $10 million coming from a bond sale approved by district voters in 2018. The goal was to replace the older fire station downtown and add a new station east of the Fox River and the railroad tracks, officials said.

“We just simply outgrew (the downtown building),” he said. “It was far more reasonable to just build a new station for response purposes.”

The second station was needed to serve the district’s growing population on South Elgin’s east side, where several new subdivisions, a new high school and a new middle school have been built in the last 10 years, Rothecker said.

It’s estimated emergency response times will be cut by as much as four minutes thanks to the new stations, he said. Vehicles will no longer get blocked by freight trains going through town, he said.

The district, which encompasses 7.5 square miles in South Elgin and 17 square miles of unincorporated land, will also save about 25% in energy costs because LED lighting is being used, Rothecker said.

Village Administrator Steve Super said the increased space at the new Spring Street location is a boon because “there’s much more room for equipment, training, all their needs. I think its a great upgrade for the fire personnel.”

An event to celebrate the new facilities being finished had to be postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic, but open houses will be held when it’s safe again to do so, Rothecker said. Anyone interested in seeing either building can arrange for a tour using social distancing guidelines, he said.

Article courtesy of the Chicago Tribune: https://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/elgin-courier-news/ct-ecn-south-elgin-new-fire-stations-st-0731-20200730-sxkixohfjnbixnu6wdtryevtpe-story.html?

Work set to begin on $9.4 million expansion of Vernon Hills middle school

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Work on the next stage of a $48.7 million building program in Hawthorn Elementary District 73 is set to begin in earnest.

With only finishing touches left for a $13.5 million kindergarten center on Aspen Drive south of Route 60, the next big project involves additions and renovations at Hawthorn Middle School North.

School officials in late February approved construction bids totaling $9.44 million for additions on three corners and interior work for the building at Aspen Drive and Hawthorn Parkway.

The project will include eight classrooms in one-story additions on the northeast and southeast corners, plus a full gym/band/music room addition on the southwest.

And because bids were considerably lower than original estimates, more than $1.1 million in work, including an eighth classroom, two STEM labs and solar panels on the gym roof, was added to the project.

Contractors had been given initial approval to do utility and interior work as well as site preparation. The village board on Tuesday approved site and landscape plans, architectural elevations and other measures to allow the entire project to proceed.

Because the new 18-classroom kindergarten building, known as Hawthorn School for Young Learners, will ease congestion in elementary schools, district officials chose Middle School North as the second master plan project.

Some spaces at Middle School North serve two functions simultaneously, like lunch and gym, for example, and other rooms hold more students than they were designed for.

The additions to the 91,680-square-foot middle school will total 21,885 square feet, an increase of about 24%.

During a recent public hearing, the village’s advisory planning and zoning commission praised the way the expansion was incorporated into the existing building.

Because the brown brick on the existing building is no longer made and can’t be matched, the additions will be built of beige brick to match the banding on the existing school and the precast concrete panels of the gym/music room.

While the color wasn’t an issue, not all were on board with the exterior of the gym/music room addition, which features staggered windows meant to suggest musical notes.

Those features lead to a 4-3 vote against recommending the architectural elevations.

“I think the average person is not going to see music, they’re going to see random scoring of a concrete facade,” said plan Commissioner Jeff Mulcrone.

Some village trustees had a similar take.

“I tend to agree with the commission but I don’t want to hold up the project,” said Trustee Thom Koch.

Community Development Director Mike Atkinson said the design complements the existing building.

“It’s staff’s opinion that these random reveal lines and the random placement of the windows are appropriate and are contextual, given the (musical) use of the addition inside,” he said.

Voters approved the $48.7 million, five-phase building program in November 2018.

Article courtesy of the Daily Herald: https://www.dailyherald.com/news/20200520/work-set-to-begin-on-94-million-expansion-of-vernon-hills-middle-school

Construction of $44M McHenry School District 156 expansion continues without delay

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The McHenry High School District 156 construction on the 70,000-square-foot extension at West Campus has continued without delay, Superintendent Ryan McTague said.

The new Center for Science, Technology, and Industry that broke ground in September is scheduled to open in January 2021. Transition to a freshmen campus at East and 10th-12th grade campus at West will occur in fall of 2021.

Full Article can be retrieved from the Daily Herald via the link below:

https://www.nwherald.com/2020/05/19/construction-of-44m-mchenry-school-district-156-expansion-continues-without-delay/a3eco73/

District 73 kindergarten center to be complete in mid-June

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The $13.5 million kindergarten center on Aspen Drive in Vernon Hills is on schedule and on budget, according to Hawthorn Elementary District 73.

Most of the electrical, mechanical and plumbing work is substantially complete, and ceilings will be closed starting May 11 at the Hawthorn School for Young Learners, district officials say.

“We’re ordering furniture at this point, so we’re definitely nearing the end,” said Abe Singh, director of finance and operations.

The 18-classroom, two-story building will be attached to the Vernon Hills Park District’s Sullivan Center on Aspen Drive in a campus of district buildings south of Route 60. The district projects 300 students will use it.

A final inspection is scheduled for June 8, and the building is expected to be available for occupancy mid-June.

The School for Young Learners is meant to relieve crowded conditions and provide flexibility at other district schools by consolidating kindergarten classes.

Principal Jill Martin said the staff is moving “full force ahead” with prepping despite school buildings’ being closed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are almost completely staffed with a group of extremely dedicated educators who cannot wait to spend their days teaching our young learners in person,” she said.

“The furniture has been ordered, master schedules are in place and our teachers are ‘Zoom Planning’ for their classrooms,” she added.

Part of the project involves road improvements to reduce backups on Aspen Drive, where the Aspen Drive library also is part of the mix.

School buses and other vehicles will enter at separate locations north and south of the Sullivan Center. They’ll exit by a new connection east to Phillip Road south of Victory Centre of Vernon Hills senior living facility leading to Atrium Drive.

The Vernon Hills village board this past Tuesday authorized a $200,000 payment to the school district for the project. The village previously built a regional detention vault to service the area and donated land for the library.

“The (village) board understands the importance of the schools and library to residents,” said David Brown, public works director/village engineer.

The School for Young Learners is part of a $48.7 million building program approved by voters in November 2018. Demolition for an estimated $10.2 million expansion/renovation at Hawthorn Middle School North will begin next week. Design also is underway for a $9.8 million expansion/renovation at Elementary South, according to Singh.

 

Article courtesy of the Daily Herald

COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

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DATE: March 19, 2020

TO: All Project Team Members

RE:  COVID-19(Coronavirus)

Lamp Incorporated is following the current precautionary guidelines set forth by government agencies and is continually monitoring the situation for updates.  Construction site operations will continue as normal, except as previously communicated and outlined below:

Elgin Office:

Employees may be working from home or may have varied hours in the office.  If samples, submittals or any other items are required to by delivered to our office, please contact the Project Manager or Assistant Project Manager to coordinate.

Meetings:

All construction meetings are suspended until further notice.  Project managers will be on site during the original scheduled meeting times but to talk in small groups.  Weekly project meeting minutes will be generated based upon individual discussions and the project look ahead schedule will be updated.  If a group meeting is required, a conference call will be initiated by one of the project team members.

 Onsite Personnel:

Please continue to keep accurate daily logs noting all employees, both hourly and salary, working and/or visiting the project site. Include subcontractors and suppliers.

If any members of a trade contractor’s workforce, including their subcontractors and suppliers, have contracted, or is suspected to have COVID-19, notify the Lamp Incorporated Project Superintendent and Project Manager immediately.  We will need to know who the employee came in contact with on the project site so proper notification can be given.

If the Lamp Incorporated Project Superintendent, Project Manager, or Safety Manager suspect a trade contractor’s employee, subcontractor, or supplier to be sick, we will ask the trade contractor’s superintendent/foreman to have the employee leave the site immediately. If the employee is your site leader, we will contact your office. Lamp will be stocking our safety kits with disposable thermometers for confirmation of fever.

If an on-site occurrence of COVID-19 is discovered, we will follow CDC guidelines which could include shutting down the jobsite in whole or partial, disinfecting, and asking all that came in contact to self-quarantine until they are cleared to return to work.

Safety Plan:

We ask that all trade contractors and subcontractors please update their safety plans to address COVID-19. We will be looking for steps that you will be using to minimize the outbreak of the virus on the project site.

Procurement:

All trade contractors are to contact their material and equipment suppliers to determine if any manufacturing, shipping, customs, or any other delivery delays may be anticipated due to COVID-19 and notify Lamp Incorporated of the potential delay and possible impact.

Thank you for your cooperation and understanding during these uncertain times.

Respectfully,

LAMP INCORPORATED

Ian C. Lamp, President

South Elgin hires Lamp Construction to oversee improvements being made to Panton Mill Park

The contractors hired to supervise construction of South Elgin’s two new fire stations have been tapped to oversee work to be done at Panton Mill Park on the village’s riverfront.

South Elgin Village Board trustees approved a $413,470 contract Monday with Elgin-based Lamp Construction Co. to assist village officials with the daily operations of the construction work, which is scheduled to be completed in time for next August’s annual Riverfest.

The new park is to include a bandshell/stage, concessions stand and restrooms, splash pad, pavilion/shelter and other amenities.

A final design plan with specific cost totals is to be presented early next year, Parks and Recreation Director Kim Wascher said. Bid requests will start going out in February to keep the project on a tight schedule, she said.

The agreement with Lamp covers pre-construction services, direct project supervision, additional general conditions costs, construction services and other work, according to village board documents.

Lamp Construction is in charge of construction of South Elgin and Countryside Fire Protection District’s new South Elgin fire stations 21 and 23, both of which are to be completed in 2020. The former is being built at 1090 Spring St., replacing the district’s current South Elgin fire headquarters on West State Street, and the latter at 498 South Elgin Blvd.

Village Administrator Steve Super told the board he spoke with fire district officials and was told they were satisfied with Lamp’s management of their projects and the progress being made on the buildings.

In November, the village board hired Wight and Co. to do the design for the new park at fee of $241,500. The raised band shell/stage on the park’s north side is to be used for musical performances and other events and a nearby picnic shelter is to accommodate dozens of people and protect visitors from inclement weather.

A “comfort building” near the center of the park will house concessions, storage space and restrooms, officials said.

The nearly 4-acre park will also have more pedestrian sidewalks and connections to the regional paths that run through South Elgin. A village drop box will be relocated to accommodate a splash pad and minor upgrades are planned for the village hall’s main entrance exterior.

McHenry District 156 breaks ground on 70,000-sq.-ft. Center for Science, Technology, and Industry

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McHenry High School District 156 school board members joined with more than 75 local McHenry officials, business leaders, teachers, students and staff Sept. 19 to officially mark the start of construction for the planned 70,000-square-foot Center for Science, Technology and Industry building extension at McHenry High School – West Campus.

For District 156 officials, the groundbreaking event ushers in a new era for McHenry High School since the three-story addition offers state-of-the-art space for learning, and will eventually pave the way for a shift to make East Campus a Freshman Campus. This campus reorganization further establishes McHenry High School as one school community.

“Today we move forward toward a bright, transformative and sustainable future,” said Dr. Ryan McTague, District 156 superintendent. “We are grateful to the voters in our community who played a vital role in making our vision of an ideal future become reality,”

Last November, voters agreed to fund a $44 million bond referendum to implement the district’s building plan, Vision 156 Plan for the Future.

The plan was a result of many community meetings to address aging buildings while creating an equitable and modern educational environment for all District 156 students.

The three-story building extension, which will be built on the northside of West Campus, includes a new main entrance, additional classrooms, a construction lab, a manufacturing lab, advanced graphics lab, broadcasting studio, an advanced environmental / STEM lab, a biomedical lab, INCubatoredu classroom and offices. It also includes a new advanced engineering, computer, and robotics laboratories.

Sue Meyer, former McHenry mayor who headed a committee to support the referendum, said she believes the variety of program offerings in the new extension was a great selling point for the community. Meyer said she’s excited to see the project come to fruition.

Emma Snyder, a junior, volunteered to be part of supporting the referendum and she’s glad future students can benefit from those changes. “I have little sisters so I’m excited for them.”

Start of construction on the West Campus extension follows a busy summer of Phase I improvements at both East Campus and West Campus.

At East Campus, improvements included new interior and exterior LED lighting, a new geothermal HVAC system, new ceilings, and some new flooring.

At West Campus, summer projects included a pool renovation, retention pond improvements, a new student parking lot and 10 new tennis courts.

Full Article can be retrieved from the Daily Herald via the link below:

https://www.dailyherald.com/submitted/20190924/mchenry-district-156-breaks-ground-on-70000-sq-ft-center-for-science-technology-and-industry

Residents happy with new Pingree Grove municipal center

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About 150 people attended a ribbon cutting and open house Saturday for the new Pingree Grove municipal center, and the verdict was unanimous: It was a much-needed upgrade from the two trailers that used to house village hall.

“It’s such an improvement,” resident Bob Nelson said.

The new building also got major thumbs-up from village accountant Karin Yumping, who showed it off to her husband, Gerry, and daughters, Isabelle and Olivia. “It’s like a dream come true. We are so happy to be in this building, especially to serve better the village and the residents.”

The $4.2 million, 29,000-square-foot building is at 555 Reinking Road, about half a mile north of the old location. The building houses village hall — administrative offices and a meeting room, where the board held its first public meeting July 1 — and a large garage for public works equipment.

The building has LED sensors and other energy-efficient features. It was designed by Kluber Architects and built by Lamp Inc. of Elgin.

Funding included $3 million in 20-year municipal bonds and $1.2 million from developer D.R. Horton.

 

Full Article can be retrieved from the Daily Herald via the link below:

https://www.dailyherald.com/news/20190824/residents-happy-with-new-pingree-grove-municipal-center?fbclid=IwAR3nVJuFDin2s1KK2lzZTRqRHUmEU161TRG4LyB-D1IFz-oZeYbEBOQfLnY