Press Release: Chris Palmer – August 21, 2023

Lamp Incorporated Superintendent Recognized for Act of Heroism

West Dundee Fire Chief, Michael Spiro, Recognizes Lamp Incorporated Superintendent Chris Palmer with Lamplighter Award for Act of Heroism at Dundee Middle School

West Dundee, IL—On August 21, 2023, Chris Palmer, a Project Superintendent who’s been with the Elgin, IL-based construction management firm Lamp Incorporated since 2006, was presented with the Lamplighter Award by West Dundee Fire Chief Michael Spiro during the Village of West Dundee Regular Board meeting for his act of heroism during a fire-related incident at Dundee Middle School, West Dundee, IL on July 12, 2023.

As explained in Fire Chief Michael Spiro’s memo to the Village Board of the Village of West Dundee:

“On July 12, 2023, a fire broke out within the premises of Dundee Middle School due to a malfunction in a piece of electrical equipment. The situation escalated rapidly, and the potential for extensive damage was imminent. In the face of this emergency, Mr. Palmer was on site as part of a construction crew working in the facility. Despite being unrelated to the ongoing work, Mr. Palmer exhibited the extraordinary presence of mind and selflessness by immediately shutting off the malfunctioning equipment’s power supply.”

Fire Chief Spiro’s full memo to the Village Board can be read by visiting and locating the Board Meeting Agenda for the Regular Meeting on Monday, August 21, 2023, at 7:30 PM.

As highlighted by Fire Chief Spiro, Mr. Palmer’s “quick thinking and courageous intervention…prevented the fire from spreading further,” allowing the firefighting team to “minimize potential hazards to [the] community,” ultimately ensuring a timely start of the 2023/24 school year at Dundee Middle School.

Left to Right: Ian Lamp, President; Chris Palmer, Proj. Superintendent; Steve Lamp, Secretary/Treasurer

West Dundee Village President Chris Nelson created the Lamplighter Award. The distinguished award typically recognizes Village employees who go above and beyond the call of duty bi-annually. Village employees or residents submit award nominations. Source: Sauder, E. (2016, January). Village gives fourth Lamplighter Award to West Dundee firefighter. Chicago Tribune.

Although this award is typically reserved for Village employees, two exceptions were made on Monday, August 21, 2023, honoring two who are not Village employees—Mr. Frank Huerta, an employee of Bleu Root restaurant, and Mr. Chris Palmer. The full memos detailing both awards are in the abovementioned Board Meeting Agenda.

It’s Lamp Incorporated’s mission to “Provide Construction Services that Always Exceed Customer Expectations,” and Mr. Palmer’s selfless act of heroism is a perfect example of the level of service provided by Lamp Incorporated since Clifford Lamp started the company in 1933 (then known as Lamp Construction).

“We’re extremely proud of Chris and how he responded to the call of action,” said Ian Lamp, President of Lamp Incorporated. Mr. Lamp further explained that “we train our team to be safe and what to do in a time of need hoping the time never comes. The incident did arise, and the training Chris received allowed him to properly handle the situation to keep lives safe and to minimize damage to the building.”

Everyone at Lamp Incorporated is very proud of Mr. Palmer and grateful to West Dundee Fire Chief Spiro and the Village of West Dundee President and Board for taking the time to recognize Mr. Palmer’s efforts. At Lamp Incorporated, teamwork and communication are the foundation for success.

ABOUT LAMP INCORPORATED: Lamp Incorporated, founded in 1933 by Clifford Lamp (then known as Lamp Construction), is a third-generation family-owned and operated construction services company based in Elgin, IL. Lamp Incorporated serves public and commercial clients in education, health care, municipal, industrial, and religion, specializing in construction management, design/build, general construction, integrated project delivery, and project management.






HAMPSHIRE — Since January 2021, officials from Community Unit School District 300 (D300) have been working hard to finalize plans for the construction of a brand-new elementary school.

At the Feb. 22 D300 Board of Education meeting, it was announced that the new school would be named Big Timber Elementary School. Its mascot, the Badger, was announced a few months later in May.

The official groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of Big Timber took place back in April, with officials stating that “the new elementary school is a proactive measure to address capacity issues resulting from population growth in the western portion of the district.”

Big Timber, which is located at 1400 S. Ridgecrest Drive in Hampshire, currently houses students in kindergarten through fifth grade, primarily from the villages of Hampshire and Pingree Grove.

The building measures 86,260 square feet across two stories and includes 40 classrooms, a gym, a library, and a media center.

According to district officials, the school cost $30.8 million to build, however, the construction did not create an increased community tax burden due to the existing fund balance and the issuance of debt certificates that were paid for out of the district’s existing operating funds.

Various D300 officials were able to tour the completed elementary school building in July before the school welcomed students back from summer vacation on Tuesday, Aug. 16.

Students also got to meet their school principal Brittany Porsche, who was approved by the D300 Board of Education in October 2021.

“I am extremely honored to serve as the principal of Big Timber. We have the opportunity to create a school culture from the ground up! At Big Timber Elementary School, we will work as a team to provide a safe and positive learning experience for all students,” stated Porsche in a message to parents of students.

She continued, “As a staff, we will strive to create an environment where everyone is welcomed and included, and our students have the foundation needed to be college and career ready. It is essential that we prepare our students to positively influence our community and world as members of a global society.”

Additionally, Big Timber students were welcomed to their new school building by members of the Hampshire Fire Protection District.

“I am proud to be a part of the Big Timber Elementary School journey and share this upcoming school year with you and your child. Thank you for allowing us to nurture, encourage, and challenge your child as we begin the 2022-2023 school year,” added Porsche in her message.

ECC To Build Multi-Million-Dollar Manufacturing Center

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We are grateful for the opportunity to oversee the construction of a project that will have a tremendous and positive impact on the future of our community. It truly takes teamwork to make the dream work, and we are proud to be a part of this team. Read more below from Kane County Connects.

ECC To Build Multi-Million-Dollar Manufacturing Center

​Elgin Community College is moving forward with plans to build a multi-million-dollar manufacturing center.

The $55 million-dollar training facility will give students expanded opportunities to learn  high-skill, in-demand jobs in a variety of careers in the manufacturing sector.

Cathy Taylor, Dean of the Sustainability, Business and Career Technologies Division, tells the Elgin Courier, the new building will house ECC’s programs for heating, air conditioning, ventilation and refrigeration (HVAC-R); energy management; industrial maintenance; mechatronics; and CNC (computer numerical control) along with two new courses in pipe welding and quality technician.

According to the Courier, the college recognized the need for the new building several years ago when they had to create a waiting list for students wanting to enroll in some of the manufacturing programs.

“The need for space was further exacerbated when local employers offered donations to the college to educate and train students and workers for manufacturing related jobs and careers, but we were challenged to find space,” Taylor told the paper.

The new manufacturing center will be built near ECC’s main entrance on property that used to be the site of the Colonial Café at Spartan Dr. and McLean Boulevard.

Source: Elgin Community College Board minutes/ Elgin Courier News. ​

Cary Park District – Sunburst Bay Aquatic Center Complete!

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Cary Park District – Sunburst Bay Aquatic Center Complete!

It takes everyone working as a team to make these projects run smoothly. Great teamwork!

Here’s an overview of the project:

Darren Thibert – September 9, 2021

Darren Thibert, ASA’s Outstanding General Contractor Superintendent (2020)

“Darren always makes sure that the best scenario possible is at play so everyone involved can do their part safely and without delay.”

The stars were certainly shining last night in Mount Prospect at Victoria in the Park for the Association of Subcontractors and Affiliates (ASA) Chicago’s 26th Annual Awards Evening and GC Council Recognition.

ASA Chicago is a nonprofit association serving subcontractors with networking opportunities, education, and advocacy within the construction industry.

Last night, the ASA Chicago recognized several individuals and projects for the impact and contributions made from 2020 to 2021, including our very own Darren Thibert, Project Superintendent.

About Darren Thibert

Darren Thibert has been a carpenter since graduating high school 36 years ago and a superintendent for 17 years. Darren is grateful for all those who helped lift and guide him and honors those people he respects by doing for others what so many have done for him.

Darren Thibert (ASA Chicago 26th Annual Awards Ceremony)

Darren Thibert

If anyone is struggling on a job site, Darren will always step up and provide help—no matter what the task is at hand. Darren knows that it takes everyone to get a job done—and not simply done, but done to the owner’s expectations—the first time, on time, and on budget. Darren always makes sure that the best scenario possible is at play so everyone involved can do their part safely and without delay.

Darren is a forward-thinking problem solver. When he learns of issues, he doesn’t simply go to the architects and engineers looking for answers. Darren’s first move when encountering issues is to come up with a viable solution and then will look to others for their insight. If everyone is putting forth their best effort then workers, subcontractors, and owners stay happy and projects move forward smoothly on schedule.

In speaking with Darren, you will quickly realize that his passion is his work. But, when Darren is not working or helping others in his community by offering his carpentry skills he enjoys outdoor activities, riding his motorcycle with his wife Sue, and barbequing with friends and family at home (the home he very proudly built). Darren is also very proud of his two daughters who are now working toward building their careers—one in Illinois and one in Colorado.


The advertisement featured (see image gallery) in the evening’s program displays a few of Darren’s recent projects, including the recently completed May Whitney Elementary School (District 95, Lake Zurich, IL).

Thank you, Darren, for being an outstanding member of the Lamp Incorporated team –

we are proud of you and your work!

Hawthorn 73 celebrates completion of new kindergarten facility


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


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:

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


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:

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


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:

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


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: