Peru Elementary school board picked a plan Wednesday for an addition at Northview School to accommodate students who now attend the dilapidated Washington School.
The addition would add about 39,700 square feet, doubling Northview’s footprint.
It would add off-street lanes on the south, west and north sides for student drop-off and pickup, eliminating the current drop-off and pickup on Plum Street to the east. It would create two main entrance/exits that line up with existing streets. A south lane would line up with West Street, intersecting with the busy Shooting Park Road, and to the east it would line up with 21 st Street, intersecting Plum Street.
There would be one exit-only drive onto Plum Street on the southeast corner of the Northview property.
Buses would queue up along the west side of Plum Street on a widened off-street lane to avoid interference with traffic.
The addition would utilize existing, generous green space to the north and would angle slightly to the northwest instead of lining up straight with the existing building. This was visually appealing to the board and also interrupted long, straight dead-end hallways. It also provides staff in the main office, which faces Plum Street, an unobstructed view to the north and to the south to see traffic and students.
The existing gym would become a cafeteria and a new gym would be built in the addition, close to the existing green space.
The design, created by architect Jacob Been of Healy, Bender & Associates Inc. of Naperville, is still open to tweaking but board members liked its layout, especially its traffic and parking options.
One of seven board members balked at endorsing the plan. Member C.G. Pillai said he did not like the angled addition. After he was reluctant to accept other members’ explanations of advantages, board President Jim Renk intervened, saying, “We have a majority of six to one to move ahead here.”
If realized, this plan would move all students, in grades 2-4, out of the 77-year-old Washington school. Northview now serves grades pre-K through 1.
The Northview addition is estimated at $11.5 million and tearing down and replacing Washington was estimated at $11.7 million.
The high cost of repairing Washington, this school’s outmoded design and the state awarding the district $11 million in a construction grant led the board away from pouring more money into Washington.
Northview’s site is flat so earthwork would be minimal, although soil borings might show that some dirt-moving is needed, architect Been said.
Bidding and work could start in the spring and be completed in August 2015, Been said.
The district will schedule a community meeting to present the plan and get feedback.
The district experienced a similar building change just four years ago. In 2009 the district sold its old Roosevelt school for $100,000 to La Salle/Putnam County Educational Alliance for Special Education and built Parkside school for grades 5-8.
Washington students moved to Parkside, Northview moved to Washington and Roosevelt closed and moved to Northview.
Jeff Dankert can be reached at (815) 220-6977 or email@example.com.