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Education

Next step in District 99 master facility plan underway

Downers Grove South High School Associate Principal Omar Davis talks with voters during a tour of the school Feb. 21 in advance of a referendum measure seeking funding to improve both Downers Grove South and North high schools. Voters approved the measure March 20.
Downers Grove South High School Associate Principal Omar Davis talks with voters during a tour of the school Feb. 21 in advance of a referendum measure seeking funding to improve both Downers Grove South and North high schools. Voters approved the measure March 20.

DOWNERS GROVE – The next step in Community High School District 99’s master facility plan is underway.

Kickoff meetings for some of the 13 committeescharged with overseeing the design of various aspects of the plan were May 13 and 14. The meetings were led by district administrators and project architects. There are two Board of Education members on each committee.

“Approximately 200 staff members total are participating in the process,” District 99 Director of Communications Jill Browning said in an email. “Meetings are being held now to gather input and information. Groups will meet again throughout the summer and fall to review designs and finalize designs. Student groups will start meeting in a couple of weeks.”

The student committees are responsible for vetting the initial work of the committees, Superintendent Hank Thiele said at the May 7 board meeting.

“We’re getting a good cross section of students to look at what the adults say and tell us if we’re crazy or not," Thiele said.

A committee of district residents also will review the proposed designs during the summer.

“The community will be able to take a look and provide feedback,” Thiele said.

Each committee is responsible for a different aspect of the master facility plan, including the loading dock at Downers Grove North, the auditorium at Downers Grove South, outdoor spaces, modern learning spaces, the gym at Downers Grove North, and safety and accessibility enhancements.

The committees will examine the district’s current facilities, study model facilities in other school districts and provide feedback on how the new District 99 facilities should appear, Thiele said.

The work of the committees will be overseen by a core team comprised of people who are also members of the other committees.

"This group will ensure consistency and that the community's values, priorities and project budget are captured in the overall final design," Browning said in an email.

Initial designs for some of the spaces will be completed in June, Thiele said.

“The bigger spaces are going to take longer,” he said.

Other portions of the facility plan are underway. For example, the district is making initial security improvements by installing door buzzer systems and air conditioning at both Downers Grove North and South. Both will be in place for the start of the 2018-19 school year, district officials said.

Voters on March 20 approved the referendum measure seeking $136.6 million to fund significant improvements at both Downers Grove North and South high schools.

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